Research & Resources

Alcohol Use and Cannabis Use Trajectories and Sexual/Gender Minority Disparities in Young Adulthood

In this study, researchers examined whether sexual and gender minority (SGM) young adults experienced poorer health, psychosocial, or other outcomes at similar levels of alcohol or cannabis (A/C) use by their non-SGM peers. Using longitudinal survey data from a community cohort recruited from California middle schools in 2008 (average age 11.5), individuals were followed across 12 waves through 2020, reporting past-month A/C use at each wave. SGM individuals showed steeper increases in the probability of cannabis, but not alcohol, use over time. Adjusting for trajectories of A/C use, 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 needs. Researchers highlighted the need for targeted efforts to reduce substance use in conjunction with other structural disadvantages experienced by SGM youth to address the emergence of disparities in young adulthood.

This paper, “Alcohol use and cannabis use trajectories and sexual/gender minority disparities in young adulthood,” was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and published in the journal Psychology of addictive behaviors.

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