Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Study Reveals How Minority Stress Can Lead Some Gay Teens To Binge Drinking

Chronic stress caused by difficult social situations can be attributed to higher rates of binge drinking by lesbian and gay adolescents compared to their heterosexual peers, a study says. The research was presented Saturday at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in Vancouver, BC. The authors of this study analyzed responses from 1,232 youths ages 12-18 years who took part in an online survey conducted by OutProud: The National Coalition for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth. The survey asked questions about sexual minority experiences and included more than 260 variables. It represents the only known research to explore the relationship between binge drinking and a variety of minority stress experiences, such as homophobia and gay-related victimization, in a large national sample of lesbian and gay adolescents.

"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," said lead author Sheree M. Schrager, director of research in the Division of Hospital Medicine at the Saban Research Institute of Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Schrager added that "studies like this one can potentially lead to tailored treatment approaches based on the unique experiences of lesbian and gay adolescents."