A study from the University of Michigan has found that gay men hoping to become parents are caused psychological disress brought on by state-wide bans on equal marriage and adoption.

The research from the School of Public Health found a strong link between psychological and physiological stress and policies across the US which ban gay couples from adoption or getting married.

José Bauermeister, the John G. Searle Assistant Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education and director of the U-M Center for Sexuality & Health Disparities said: ”Our study extends this current work by noting that LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) discrimination can also affect how and what people dream for their future.”

The study, conducted by Bauermeister, examined the impact of statewide bans on aspirations of fatherhood by gay men.

Men from all 50 states, Washington DC and Puerto Rico were respondents. 1,487 men were asked.

Respondents who had aspirations of parenthood in states which allow marriage equality and gay adoption had generally lower depressive symptoms and higher self-esteem.

In states with the bans, respondents had the opposite.

The associations were found for same-sex joint parenting bans, those which involved adopting a child from its parents, or from state custody, as well as cases in which a person seeks to adopt their partner’s child.

“This study is the first to examine how young gay and bisexual men’s hopes about the future—in this case, their dreams about becoming fathers—may fail to be a protective factor towards their psychological health if they live in states where LGBT discriminatory policies are in place,” Bauermeister said.