Published on January 3, 2013 at 12:42 AM
"The fact that concealment, but not disclosure, was associated with the mental health of these bisexual men is critically important for the way therapeutic interventions are conducted in this population," said Karolynn Siegel, PhD, professor of Sociomedical Sciences and co-author. "Although disclosure may result in acceptance from family and friends, in other cases -- particularly with female partners -- disclosure may also result in rejecting reactions, which are adversely associated with mental health."
The research also suggests reasons why concealment was negatively associated with mental health. Bisexual men who were more concerned than others about concealing their same-sex behavior also tended to report lower levels of social support and more internalized homophobia - that is, negative attitudes toward their same-sex behavior.
The findings indicate that publically disclosing their same-sex behavior may not be necessary to their mental health, as long as bisexual men have adequate emotional support to cope with other stressors in their lives. Professionals who do therapeutic work with bisexual men may wish to focus instead on helping such men reduce their perceived need to conceal their same-sex behavior and accept their sexual orientation.
Source: Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health