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Margaret Rosario, PhD, Department of Psychology, The City University of New York - City College and Graduate Center, Convent Avenue and 138th Street, NAC Building 7-120, New York, NY 10031, 212-650-5420, email@example.com, Eric W. Schrimshaw, MA (PhD cand), Doctoral Program in Psychology, The City University of New York - Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016, and Joyce Hunter, DSW, HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, New York State Psychiatric Institute, 1051 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10032.
Same-sex attracted female youths report greater substance use and abuse than their young male peers (e.g., Russell et al., 2002). However, such comparisons do not address individual differences; thus, it is unclear why some female youths report more substance use and abuse while others do not. This presentation longitudinally examines butch/femme identity as a predictor of substance use and abuse among an ethnically diverse sample of 76 lesbian and bisexual female youths (ages 14 – 21, M = 18.4) in New York City. Fifty-one percent were butches and 43% were femmes. Butches reported significantly more substance use and abuse than did femmes at all three assessments, but did not differ on emotional distress, gay-related stressful events, or internalized homophobia. Specifically, butches reported a greater quantity of cigarettes (r = .30), a greater frequency of alcohol (r = .39) and marijuana use (r = .29), a greater quantity of alcohol (r = .25) and marijuana use (r = .27) and a greater number of DSM-IV substance abuse symptoms (r = .26) than femmes. These butch/femme differences remained after controlling for emotional distress, gay-related stress, and internalized homophobia. The findings suggest that young butch lesbians, rather than all lesbian and bisexual youths, report greater substance use and abuse. Thus, interventions should target young butch lesbians to address the high prevalence of substance use and abuse. Further, butch/femme identity may be important for future research to consider in understanding substance use and abuse of lesbian and bisexual female youths.
Keywords: Substance Abuse, Lesbian Health
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Any relevant financial relationships? No
The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA