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Community LGBTQ supportiveness may reduce substance use among sexual minority adolescents

Community LGBTQ supportiveness was found to be associated with lower odds of lifetime illegal drug use for sexual minority boys and girls and lower odds of lifetime marijuana use and smoking for girls. Living in a large population center was related to lower odds of lifetime alcohol use for boys.

Photo by @helloimnik from Unsplash.com

A new research study provides novel insights into community-level predictors of lifetime substance use among a sample of 2,678 sexual minority adolescents. Community LGBTQ supportiveness was found to be associated with lower odds of lifetime illegal drug use for sexual minority boys and girls and lower odds of lifetime marijuana use and smoking for girls. Living in a large population center was related to lower odds of lifetime alcohol use for boys.

However, a progressive political climate was related to higher odds of lifetime marijuana use for girls.

The importance of community contexts for substance use among sexual minority adolescents is investigated in an article published in LGBT Health, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available on LGBT Health.

The article, “Associations Between Community-Level LGBTQ-Supportive Factors and Substance Use Among Sexual Minority Adolescents,” was authored by Ryan J. Watson, PhD, University of Connecticut (Storrs) and colleagues from The University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada), the University of Maryland (College Park), San Diego State University (CA), and the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis). British Columbia Adolescent Health Survey data and primary community-level data were used to examine associations between community and school LGBTQ supportiveness, as well as population size and political climate of the communities surrounding the schools, and lifetime substance use (alcohol, illegal drugs, marijuana, non-medical use of prescription drugs, and smoking).

“The study suggests that the availability of a variety of LGBTQ community resources lowers the odds of substance use for sexual minority adolescents by creating a climate of greater acceptance. It adds to accumulating evidence linking community openness and inclusiveness to LGBTQ health,” states LGBT Health Editor-in-Chief William Byne, MD, PhD, Columbia University, New York, NY.

Earlier studies already noted the misuse of drugs by members of the LGBTQIA community. In January, for instance, a study noted that transgender individuals misuse drugs not because of their non-gender conformity but with the discrimination that they, as transgender individuals, face on a daily basis.

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