Secrets are hard to live with. That might be one reason why gay men are more likely to suffer with social anxiety than heterosexual men. At least those were the findings of a study published in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders in 2006.
Researchers at the State University of New York investigated the occurence of social anxiety in a sample of undergraduate gay and heterosexual men. Gay men reported greater social interaction anxiety, greater fear of negative evaluation, and lower self-esteem than their heterosexual counterparts.
Gay men who were less comfortable and less open about their sexual orientation were more likely to experience anxiety in social interactions.
The study results seem to be borne out by anecdotal evidence too. New Kids on the Block bandmate Jonathan Knight suffered with social anxiety while at the same time keeping his sexual orientation a secret. Author Daniela Grazia talks about her struggle with SAD and coming to grips with her sexuality.
As with most issues, it is likely a combination of factors that cause some gay men to develop social anxiety; sexual orientation is just one piece of the puzzle.
What do you think? Have you or someone you know dealt with social anxiety and sexual orientation issues?
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