State of the Science 

The Silence of Our Science: Nursing Research on LGBT Older Adult Health

Kristin G. Cloyes, PhD, RN

Abstract

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older adults have been largely invisible within health and aging services research, despite being disproportionately burdened by poor health and aging outcomes. The current study examines the prevalence of LGBT aging and older adult health-related studies in the 2010–2014 nursing literature, and how this topic is being addressed. Systematic CINAHL and PubMed searches were conducted and compared to (a) quantify the prevalence of LGBT older adult–related scholarship in nursing research; (b) document the appearance of relevant publications in top nursing journals; (c) identify the focus of articles with a substantive focus on LGBT older adult health or aging; and (d) compare the prevalence of LGBT older adult–related literature in nursing, gerontology, medicine, and social work. Findings indicate that research explicitly including LGBT older adults is lacking across the health sciences, particularly in nursing (where it has been largely absent). Implications for nursing research, practice, and education are discussed.

[Res Gerontol Nurs. 2016; 9(2):92–104.]

Authors

Dr. Cloyes is Associate Professor, College of Nursing, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.

The author has disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise. This work was supported by the National Hartford Center for Gerontological Nursing Excellence Claire M. Fagin faculty fellowship and a grant from the Mayday Fund.

Address correspondence to Kristin G. Cloyes, PhD, RN, Associate Professor, College of Nursing, University of Utah, 10 South 2000 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84112; e-mail: Kristin.cloyes@nurs.utah.edu.

Received: July 20, 2015
Accepted: November 17, 2015
Posted Online: December 29, 2015

10.3928/19404921-20151218-02

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older adults have been largely invisible within health and aging services research, despite being disproportionately burdened by poor health and aging outcomes. The current study examines the prevalence of LGBT aging and older adult health-related studies in the 2010–2014 nursing literature, and how this topic is being addressed. Systematic CINAHL and PubMed searches were conducted and compared to (a) quantify the prevalence of LGBT older adult–related scholarship in nursing research; (b) document the appearance of relevant publications in top nursing journals; (c) identify the focus of articles with a substantive focus on LGBT older adult health or aging; and (d) compare the prevalence of LGBT older adult–related literature in nursing, gerontology, medicine, and social work. Findings indicate that research explicitly including LGBT older adults is lacking across the health sciences, particularly in nursing (where it has been largely absent). Implications for nursing research, practice, and education are discussed.

[Res Gerontol Nurs. 2016; 9(2):92–104.]

Dr. Cloyes is Associate Professor, College of Nursing, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.

The author has disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise. This work was supported by the National Hartford Center for Gerontological Nursing Excellence Claire M. Fagin faculty fellowship and a grant from the Mayday Fund.

Address correspondence to Kristin G. Cloyes, PhD, RN, Associate Professor, College of Nursing, University of Utah, 10 South 2000 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84112; e-mail: Kristin.cloyes@nurs.utah.edu.

Received: July 20, 2015
Accepted: November 17, 2015
Posted Online: December 29, 2015
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