Empirical Research

Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 30-39

Longitudinal Disparities of Hazardous Drinking Between Sexual Minority and Heterosexual Individuals from Adolescence to Young Adulthood

  • Sarah S. DermodyAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh Email author 
  • , Michael P. MarshalAffiliated withCenter for Research on Health and Sexual Orientation, Graduate School of Public Health, University of PittsburghDepartment of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh
  • , JeeWon CheongAffiliated withDepartment of Health Behavior, University of Alabama
  • , Chad BurtonAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh
  • , Tonda HughesAffiliated withCollege of Nursing (MC 802), University of Illinois at Chicago
  • , Frances ArandaAffiliated withCollege of Nursing (MC 802), University of Illinois at Chicago
  • , Mark S. FriedmanAffiliated withCenter for Research on Health and Sexual Orientation, Graduate School of Public Health, University of PittsburghDepartment of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh

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Abstract

Sexual minority (lesbian and gay, bisexual, mostly heterosexual) individuals are at an increased risk for hazardous drinking than heterosexual individuals, but little is known about the nature of the disparities as adolescents reach adulthood. We used four waves of a nationally representative data set, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), to examine disparities of hazardous drinking outcomes between sexual minority and heterosexual men and women from adolescence to young adulthood. Participants were 14–18 years old at the first assessment (N = 12,379; 53 % female) and 27–31 years old at the fourth assessment. At the fourth assessment, 13 % self-identified as sexual minority individuals, 16 % were Hispanic, and 36 % were of minority race, including primarily African Americans (60 %) and Asian Americans (18 %). There were clear hazardous drinking disparities between sexual minority individuals and heterosexual individuals over time. During adolescence, sexual minority individuals, particularly females, reported higher levels of hazardous drinking. As study participants reached adulthood, the magnitude of the hazardous drinking disparities increased among sexual minorities, sexual minority men in particular. Additional research is needed to better understand the developmental mechanisms that underlie the emerging sexual orientation related disparities of hazardous drinking in young adulthood.

Keywords

Bisexual Gay Lesbian Longitudinal Hazardous drinking Alcohol