The University of Michigan has released the results of a study which revealed that gay, lesbian or bisexual students who hear phrases such as “that’s so gay” more often are more likely to suffer health problems.
The study, co-authored by Michael Woodford, an assistant social work professor at the university, included an examination of the effect of hearing the phrase on 114 students between the age of 18 and 25.
The findings, which appeared in the Journal of American College Health, suggested that such language can prove harmful to lesbian, gay and bisexual students both mentally and physically, with the students who heard the phrase more often being more likely to suffer headaches, eating problems and feelings of isolation.
Woodford said: “Given the nature of gay-lesbian-bisexual stigma, sexual minority students could already perceive themselves to be excluded on campus and hearing “that’s so gay” may elevate such perceptions.”
According to the study, only around one in ten of the subjects said that they had not heard the phrase at all, and many reported that they had heard it ten times or more during the school year.
The conclusion of the report, authored by Woodford and Michael Howell, of Appalachian State University, suggested that the only way to eradicate the negative effects of this “low level hostility” is for the phrases to be removed from university vernacular language.
Woodford said that institutions should be raising awareness of the harmful effects this can have on other students.