Cardiovascular correlates of disclosing homosexual orientation

Carlos Israel Pérez-Benítez, William H. O'Brien, Robert A. Carels, Anne K. Gordon, Christine E. Chiros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Many people conceal their homosexuality. Concealment of homosexual orientation can be experienced as chronic stress and be associated with increased levels of physical symptoms. Research suggests that disclosure may produce a reduction in perceived stress, physical symptoms, and physiological activation. The cardiovascular activations levels of 27 healthy adult gay males were measured during resting baseline, a disclosure task (i.e. participants were instructed to talk about the difficulties associated with concealing one's sexual orientation), and a recovery phase. Several 2 (high/low concealment) × 2 (high/low disclosure) ANOVAs were conducted to determine if there was an interaction between level of concealment and level of disclosure during the recovery period. Results indicated that participants with a high concealment and high disclosure during the study exhibited significantly greater cardiovascular recovery than participants who engaged in a lower level of disclosure. These findings are discussed in light of Pennebaker's research on inhibition and confession.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-152
Number of pages12
JournalStress and Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2007


  • Cardiovascular reactivity
  • Concealment
  • Homosexuality
  • Inhibition
  • Self-disclosure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Psychology(all)


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