[1675.5] The Application of Minority Stress Theory To Binge Drinking Among Lesbian and Gay Adolescents

Sheree M. Schrager, Jeremy T. Goldbach, Ian W. Holloway. Division of Adolescent Medicine, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA; School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA; Department of Social Welfare, Luskin School of Public Affairs, University of California, Los Angeles, CA.

BACKGROUND: Lesbian and gay (LG) adolescents report higher rates of binge drinking than their heterosexual peers. Variance in behavioral health patterns among LG individuals has been frequently explained through a Minority Stress Theory (MST) framework, positing that difficult social situations create a state of chronic stress that leads to poor health outcomes for LG people. However, the applicability of this model has not been well explored in relation to alcohol use among LG adolescents.
OBJECTIVE: We sought to comprehensively apply the concepts of MST to a large national dataset of LG adolescents, in order to concurrently explore the relationship of stress domains to each other as well as to binge drinking and psychological distress outcomes.
DESIGN/METHODS: The current study is a secondary analysis of the OutProud survey, a national study of 1,232 LG adolescents ages 12-17 across the United States. OutProud is the largest known U.S. study to explore experiences specific to LG adolescents, such as homophobia and gay-related victimization. Using structural equation modeling, we applied the MST framework to understand binge drinking in this population.
RESULTS: All indicators loaded significantly onto their respective latent factors, and the structural model showed excellent fit (CFI=0.984, TLI=0.981, RMSEA=0.032). As hypothesized by MST, psychological distress was associated with violence/victimization (b=0.446, p<0.001), internalized homophobia (b=0.323, p<0.001), and outness (b=0.177, p<0.001). Significant MST predictors of binge drinking included greater internalized homophobia (OR=1.200, p<0.05) and community connectedness (OR=1.514, p<0.001); however, greater connectedness was protective against internalized homophobia (b=-0.671, p<0.001). Internalized homophobia partially mediated the effect of connectedness on binge drinking (indirect OR=0.824, p<0.05), in that greater community connectedness was indirectly protective against binge drinking by reducing feelings of internalized homophobia associated with binge drinking behavior.
CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that LG youth experience a number of minority stressors, including violence/victimization and internalized homophobia, that are associated with binge drinking patterns. Connection to the gay community was associated with reduced internalized homophobia but increased binge drinking, indicating that the community provides opportunities for both risk and support.


Session: Platform Session: Male Health & Substance Use (2:45 PM - 4:45 PM)
Date/Time: Saturday, May 3, 2014 - 3:45 PM
Room: East 9 - Vancouver Convention Centre
Course Code: 1675


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