This is the first study to examine U.S. national trends in alcohol, marijuana, illicit drug, and polysubstance use across sexual identity subgroups, and demonstrates that sexual identity subgroup differences were robust with relatively few changes in trends over time. The consistently high rates of binge alcohol use and polysubstance use among bisexual women deserve much closer attention based on the related health consequences.

Author

Sean Esteban McCabe (email: plius@umich.edu), Curtiss W. Engstrom, Luisa Kcomt, Rebecca Evans-Polce and Brady T West

Citation

Sean Esteban McCabe, Curtiss W. Engstrom, Luisa Kcomt, Rebecca Evans-Polce & Brady T. West (2022) Trends in binge drinking, marijuana use, illicit drug use, and polysubstance use by sexual identity in the United States (2006–2017), Substance Abuse, 43:1, 194-203, DOI: 10.1080/08897077.2021.1913696


Source
Substance Abuse
Release date
03/08/2021

Trends in Binge Drinking, Marijuana Use, Illicit Drug Use, and Polysubstance Use by Sexual Identity in the United States (2006-2017)

Abstract

Background

National studies often examine associations between sexual identity and substance use at a single point in time and neglect to examine whether these associations change over time. The present study examines U.S. trends in the past-year prevalence of binge alcohol use, marijuana use, illicit drug use, and polysubstance use across sexual identity subgroups (gay, lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual). 

Methods

The data come from four independent, cross-sectional samples measured by the National Survey of Family Growth (2006–2010, 2011–2013, 2013–2015, and 2015–2017). Based on the consistency in the sampling procedures used over time, merging the four data sets was possible. The target population is men and women 15–44 years of age. 

Results

Lesbian women had the sharpest decline in past-year binge alcohol use over time, followed by heterosexual women. The prevalence of binge alcohol use for bisexual women did not change significantly over time and was higher in 2015–2017 than for any sexual identity subgroup. In contrast, there were no significant differences in the prevalence of binge alcohol use among men by sexual identity subgroup. Past-year abstinence from substance use was consistently lower among lesbian women, gay men, and bisexual women relative to other sexual identity subgroups. Polysubstance use was consistently more prevalent among bisexual women (e.g., 32.3% in 2015–2017) as compared to other sexual identity subgroups. 

Conclusion

This is the first study to examine U.S. national trends in alcohol, marijuana, illicit drug, and polysubstance use across sexual identity subgroups, and demonstrates that sexual identity subgroup differences were robust with relatively few changes in trends over time. The consistently high rates of binge alcohol use and polysubstance use among bisexual women deserve much closer attention based on the related health consequences.


Source Website: Taylor and Francis Online