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Health and happiness among homosexual couples in Europe

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

Hanneke van den Akker
Social and Cultural Science, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Joris Blaauw
Unit for Behavioural Science, National Police of the Netherlands, Division East Netherlands (formerly research masters student, Department of Sociology, Social and Cultural Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, Radboud University)
Marcel Lubbers
Faculty of Social Sciences, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Rozemarijn van der Ploeg
Department of Sociology, University of Groningen, The Netherlands (formerly research masters student, Social and Cultural Science, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Radboud University)
Peer Scheepers
Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, email
Ellen Verbakel
Faculty of Social Sciences, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
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Data from five waves (2002–10) of the European Social Survey were examined to see the extent to which heterosexual and homosexual couples differ in their health and happiness. Homosexual people had lower levels of self-rated health and happiness. We suggest that those who experience discrimination are more strongly integrated in their gay community, which, in turn, may bring positive effects in terms of happiness due to a sense of belonging, but may be accompanied by the specific health risks associated with this community.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (, which permits noncommercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.
Copyright © Royal College of Psychiatrists 2013


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