Stressful situations make gay, lesbian teens binge drink
A new study has revealed that chronic stress caused by difficult social situations may be the reason behind higher rates of binge drinking by lesbian and gay adolescents compared to their heterosexual peers.
According to the study, lesbian and gay people experience higher rates of physical and mental health problems and chronic stress due to discrimination, rejection, harassment, concealment of sexual orientation, internalized homophobia (negative attitudes toward homosexuality) and other negative experiences leads to poor health.
Lead author Sheree M. Schrager, PhD, MS, director of research in the Division of Hospital Medicine at the Saban Research Institute of Children's Hospital Los Angeles, said that although other studies of adolescents commonly report on sexuality or sexual identity, these general population studies do not typically assess nuanced experiences of stress among sexual minority adolescents.
The scientists have found that internalized homophobia was a significant predictor of binge drinking, while experiencing violence or victimization was marginally associated with drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time, while those living with their parents were less likely to report binge drinking.
It was also found that feeling connected to the gay community was both positively and negatively associated with binge drinking, as those who felt connected were more likely to report binge drinking, but, community connectedness protected against internalized homophobia, thereby indirectly protecting against heavy episodic drinking.
(Posted on 05-05-2014)