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Sexual orientation and gender identity disparities in substance use disorders during young adulthood in a united states longitudinal cohort

Substance use disorders affects many people across the united states, increasing risk for mental health disorders, chronic diseases, and impacts on social lives. Studies have previously shown that sexual and gender minorities take part in more substance use at adolescents and continuing as they get older. This study specifically looks at how sexual orientation and gender identity are associated with substance use disorders in the past 12 months in young adults.

12,428 participants were involved in the ongoing cohort study with ages varying from 20-35 years of age. Researchers gave participants questionnaires to gain information about their sexual orientation, gender identity, substance use disorders, drug use, and demographics. They specifically asked about past 12-month dependence on substances such as nicotine and alcohol along with asking about overall drug use in the past 12-months. The results showed that participants considered as a sexual minority did prove to have greater odds of past 12-month substance use disorders. This was greater in young adults assigned female than young adult assigned male.

The study results also showed that two or more substance use disorders in the past 12-months were also higher in the sexual minority group. The researchers found age-related declines in substance use disorder were similar across sexual orientation and gender identity groups. Overall, gender identity was associated with prevalence of multiple substance use disorders. This information is important when providing prevention and treatment resources to sexual and gender minority young adults.

Take Away: While substance use disorders affect many people across the country, previous research has shown that sexual and gender minorities take part in more substance use at a young age and continuing the use as they age. This study took 12,428 participants and asked about sexual orientation, gender identity, substance use disorders, and drug use This was done to see if there are any association between sexual orientation and gender identity to risk of substance use disorders. What they found was that participants considered as a sexual minority did have higher odds of past 12-month single and multiple substance use disorders. This information is important when providing prevention and treatment resources to sexual and gender minority young adults.

Jun, H.-J., Webb-Morgan, M., Felner, J. K., Wisdom, J. P., Haley, S. J., Austin, S. B., … Corliss, H. L. (2019). Sexual orientation and gender identity disparities in substance use disorders during young adulthood in a United States longitudinal cohort. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 205, 107619. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.107619

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