Research & Resources

Sexual/Gender Minority Young Adults’ Alcohol and Cannabis Use

Researchers examined alcohol or cannabis (A/C) use by sexual and gender minority (SGM) young people, comparing their use to that of non-SGM peers and examining whether SGM young adults experience poorer health, psychosocial, or other outcomes than non-SGM peers with similar levels of A/C use. Participants were recruited from California middle schools and reported on past-month A/C use at 12 waves, from 2008–2020. Compared with non-SGM peers, participants showed steeper increases in probability of cannabis use, but not alcohol use, over time. SGM individuals had significant disparities relative to non-SGM peers with respect to employment and economic stability, criminal justice involvement, social functioning, subjective physical health, behavioral health, and perceived unmet mental health treatment need. Targeted efforts to reduce substance use in conjunction with other structural disadvantages experienced by SGM youth are needed to address the emergence of disparities in young adulthood.
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