3039.0: Monday, November 13, 2000 - 12:30 PM

Abstract #7174

Social identity and substance use in the lesbian community

Molly B. Kerby, Department of Public Health, Western Kentucky University, 1 Big Red Way, Bowling Green, KY 42101, 2707822324, mollykerby@aol.com

The purpose of this study was to determine the degree of substance use (alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs) among members of the lesbian community. Additionally, the investigation attempted to determine if there was a relationship between negative social identity and low self-esteem that is reflected in higher rates of substance abuse. The data collection method employed in this study was a type of nonprobability sampling procedure referred to as a purposive sample. The questionnaire was derived from instruments used by other researchers and validated by an expert panel. In order to select respondents from the lesbian population to be included in the sample, the survey was placed on a web page and posted on the Internet. Data were collected on 100 lesbian and bisexual female respondents during a seven-month period. Results from a Pearsons Correlation, one-tailed test of significance determined that there was a significant, positive relationship (p<.0001) between social identity and self-esteem. Though no significant relationship existed between social identity and substance abuse, respondents with higher levels of self-esteem reported significant uses of sedatives (p<.05), tranquilizers (p<.05), speed (p<.01), and inhalants (p<.05). These, as well as other substance, have been associated with the "bar" culture.

Though these data were collected for the purpose of a thesis, the data collection will continue in order to increase the sample size. This project was also combined with an existing Internet investigation to strengthen the use of this methodology.

(The survey can be located on-line at http://www.geocities.com/molly_b_ky/)

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this session the participants will have developed an understanding of the difficulty in assessing the needs of substance abusers in the lesbian community. They will recognize that the social constructs identified and described in this presentation effect the application of treatment programs in these populations

Keywords: Substance Abuse Assessment, Substance Abuse Treatment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA