For some time, science has been aware that gay and lesbian teens are more likely to binge drink and a new study could finally have found the reason why.
A new study presented at the Paediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in Vancouver BC found that the increased likelihood of binge drinking in LGBT teens may be due to chronic stress brought on by the difficult social problems they face.
Previous research proves that lesbians and gay people, on average, have a higher risk of developing both physical and mental health problems. Many people believe that this is rooted in the fact that they suffer from something called minority stress. This is stress caused by discrimination, rejection, harassment, secrecy and/or internalised homophobia.
To determine whether minority stress was really the root of LGBT teen binge drinking, the study’s authors analysed the answers of 1,232 young people who took part in an online survey. 16% of those surveyed were lesbian women while 84 were gay men.
This is the first study of its kind to look at the reasons behind LGBT drinking and the results show that the minority stress theory is most likely correct.
The study respondents showed multiple signs that they were suffering from minority stress including internalised homophobia. The study also found that violent experiences or victimisation could also play a marginal role in binge drinking.
"Given that interventions are more effective when they are developed to match the cultural experiences of participants, theoretically grounded studies like this one can potentially lead to tailored treatment approaches based on the unique experiences of lesbian and gay adolescents," said the study’s lead author, Dr. Schrager.
This study is a good way to help counter binge drinking and understand its causes in minority groups. Binge drinking is a dangerous habit and the longer people engage in it, the greater the toll it will take on their bodies.
Hopefully, some of the findings in this study can help prevent at least some of the binge drinking in the LGBT community.
To learn more about binge drinking check out the Life Works Knowledge Centre.