Title

Health care utilization in a sample of Canadian lesbian women: Predictors of risk and resilience

Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3463-5704

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-18-2003

Publication Title

Women and Health

Volume

37

Issue

3

First Page

19

Last Page

35

DOI

10.1300/J013v37n03_02

Keywords

Feminism, Health, Internalized homophobia, Lesbian

Abstract

This study was designed to test an exploratory path model predicting health care utilization by lesbian women. Using structural equation modeling we examined the joint influence of internalized homophobia, feminism, comfort with health care providers (HCPs), education, and disclosure of sexual identity both in one's life and to one's HCP on health care utilization. Surveys were completed by 254 Canadian lesbian women (54% participation rate) recruited through snowball sampling and specialized media. The majority (95%) of women were White, 3% (n = 7) were women of colour, and the remaining six women did not indicate ethnicity. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 67 with a mean age of 38.85 years (SD = 9.12). In the final path model, higher education predicted greater feminism, more disclosure to HCPs, and better utilization of health services. Feminism predicted both decreased levels of internalized homophobia and increased disclosure across relationships. Being more open about one's sexual identity was related to increased disclosure to HCPs, which in turn, led to better health care utilization. Finally, the more comfortable women were with their HCP the more likely they were to seek preventive care. All paths were significant at p < .01. The path model offers insight into potential target areas for intervention with the goal of improving health care utilization in lesbian women. © 2003 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

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