A new study claims that being homophobic can knock an average of 2.5 years off a person's life.

“Heterosexuals who reported higher levels of anti-gay prejudice had higher mortality risk than those who reported lower levels, with control for multiple risk factors for mortality, including demographics, socioeconomic status, and fair or poor self-rated health,” wrote researchers in publishing their findings in the February issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

“This result translates into a life expectancy difference of approximately 2.5 years between individuals with high versus low levels of anti-gay prejudice.”

The study, titled Anti-Gay Prejudice and All-Cause Mortality Among Heterosexuals in the United States, was led by Mark L. Hatzenbuehler of Columbia University.

Hatzenbuehler and his team also found that homophobia was associated with increased risk of cardiovascular-related causes of death.

The study's conclusion: “The findings contribute to a growing body of research suggesting that reducing prejudice may improve the health of both minority and majority populations.”