Early drinking onset moderates the effect of sexual minority stress on drinking identity and alcohol use in sexual and gender minority women

Colleen Corte, Alicia K. Matthews, Karen Farchaus Stein, Chia-Kuei Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: Our aim was to (a) describe alcohol use in a community-based sample of young sexual and gender minority (SGM) women, (b) determine the influence of sexual minority stress, early drinking onset, and a drinker self-schema on alcohol use, and (c) determine subgroup difference in these effects. Method: Fifty-three women (mean age = 20.5) from a larger cross-sectional study of identities and behavior in LGBT people aged 16 to 24 were recruited using flyers posted in and near a communitybased health center that provides services for SGM persons. Participants completed a computer-assisted self-interview that included questions about alcohol use (last 90 days), age of drinking onset, drinker self-schema (extent to which drinking is a central source of self-definition), and sexual minority stress. Results: Lesbians were less likely to define themselves in terms of alcohol and reported lower levels of alcohol use (.22 drinks/day) compared with other SGM women (bisexual/transgender/curious/prefer no labels 58-.63 drinks/day). Sexual minority stress was associated with high drinker self-schema scores for women who started drinking prior to the age of 15 (p =.016), but not for those who started drinking later (p =.93). High drinker self-schema scores were associated with high levels of alcohol use (p = 004). Findings held for bisexual and transgender women, but were muted for lesbians. Conclusions: Interventions to prevent early drinking onset and sexual minority stress may prevent alcohol from becoming an important source of self-definition that contributes to high levels of alcohol use for bisexual and transgender women, but longitudinal studies with larger probability samples of SGM women are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-488
Number of pages9
JournalPsychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity
Volume3
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Psychology(all)

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