Sexual Minority Youth Report High-Intensity Binge Drinking: The Critical Role of School Victimization

Publication Abstract

Fish, Jessica N., John E. Schulenberg, and Stephen T. Russell. Forthcoming. "Sexual Minority Youth Report High-Intensity Binge Drinking: The Critical Role of School Victimization." Journal of Adolescent Health.

Purpose To examine standard binge drinking (≥4 drinks for females, ≥5 drinks for males) and high-intensity binge drinking (≥8 drinks for females, ≥10 drinks for males) among heterosexual and sexual minority youth in the US and whether reports of school-based victimization mediate this association. Methods Survey data are from the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS; n = 10,839, Mage = 16.07). Logistic regression adjusted for race/ethnicity and age compared rates of standard and high-intensity binge drinking among heterosexual and sexual minority youth and whether experiences of school-based victimization mediated this association. Effects were tested in full sample and sex-stratified models. Results Lesbian and bisexual girls and girls with male and female partners were more likely than heterosexual girls to report standard rates of binge drinking. Lesbian girls and girls reporting male and female sexual partners were more likely than heterosexual girls to report high-intensity binge drinking in the past 30days. Compared with heterosexual boys, gay boys were significantly less likely to participate in high-intensity binge drinking. School-based victimization mediated all significant associations between sexual minority status and standard and high-intensity binge drinking, with the exception of lesbian girls. Conclusion Lesbian and behaviorally bisexual girls have elevated risk for high-intensity binge drinking relative to heterosexual girls. Findings point to the importance of policies that reduce school-based victimization as these experiences are associated with higher rates of standard and high-intensity binge drinking among sexual minority girls.

DOI:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2018.07.005 (Full Text)

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