Substance Use Behaviors Among LGBTQ+ Youth of Color: Identification of the Populations Bearing the Greatest Burden in Three Large Samples

Marla E. Eisenberg, Amy L. Gower, Ryan J. Watson, G. Nic Rider, De'Shay S. Thomas, Stephen T. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Research has identified persistent disparities in alcohol, e-cigarette, and marijuana use, by sexual orientation, gender identity, and race/ethnicity. Using an intersectionality framework, the present study analyzes three large datasets to identify intersecting social positions bearing the highest burden of substance use. Methods: Data from adolescents in grades 9–12 in three samples (2019 Minnesota Student Survey, 2017–2019 California Healthy Kids Survey, and 2017 National Teen Survey) were harmonized for an analysis (N = 602,470). A Chi-squared Automatic Interaction Detection analysis compared the prevalence of four types of substance use across all combinations of four social positions (six racial/ethnic identities, five sexual orientations, three gender identities, and two sexes assigned at birth). For each substance, 10 intersectional groups with the highest prevalence of use were examined. Results: In the full sample, 12%–14% of participants reported past 30-day alcohol, e-cigarette, or marijuana use and 7% reported past 30-day binge drinking. Several intersecting marginalized social positions were consistently found to bear a high burden of substance use. For example, transgender and gender diverse (TGD) Latina/x/o young people, particularly those assigned male at birth, were in the high prevalence groups for alcohol use, binge drinking, and marijuana use. Black TGD or gender-questioning youth were commonly in the high prevalence groups. Discussion: Findings suggest that support, resources, and structural changes specifically tailored to youth with multiple marginalized identities (especially TGD) may be needed. The results argue for intersectional efforts that explicitly address racial/ethnic and cultural differences, while also integrating awareness and understanding of sexual and gender diversity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-323
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Volume71
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities under Award Number R01MD015722, National Institute on Drug Abuse under Award Number K01DA047918, and grant P2CHD042849 awarded to the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. Sponsors had no role in the study design; collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; writing of the report; or decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Funding Information:
Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities under Award Number R01MD015722 , National Institute on Drug Abuse under Award Number K01DA047918 , and grant P2CHD042849 awarded to the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development . The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. Sponsors had no role in the study design; collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; writing of the report; or decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Gender identity
  • Intersectionality
  • Sexual orientation
  • Substance use
  • Youth of color

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

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