195681 Sexual Abuse and Substance Use Among Heterosexual and Lesbian Women: Women Enrolled in the ESTHER Study

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Helen Smith, MPH , Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Nina Markovic, PhD , Graduate School of Public Health, Dept. of Epidmiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Michelle Danielson, PhD , Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, PA
Natacha M. De Genna, PhD , Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Alicia Matthews, PhD , Department of Public Health, Mental Health, and Administrative Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Tonda Hughes, PhD , College of Nursing, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL
Cynthia Larkby, PhD , Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Ada Youk, PhD , Department of Statistics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Our aim was to investigate the association between substance use (cigarette use, alcohol use and illicit drug use) and sexual abuse history among lesbian and heterosexual women using data from the ESTHER Project (Epidemiologic STudy of HEalth Risk in Women). The ESTHER Project (2003-2006) included 1084 women 34 years and over, about half self-identified as lesbian (n= 504). Three self-reported sexual abuse measures were used. Childhood sexual abuse was assessed by asking respondents whether they were sexually abused by a family member or non-family member prior to age 18. Adult sexual abuse asked about forced activity after age 18. Chi square tests compared the prevalence rates of cigarette smoking, alcohol use, and drug use in relation to self-reported sexual abuse and sexual orientation. No significant differences were found between lesbians and heterosexuals in the amount of cigarettes smoked per day or number of drinks consumed per month. Lesbians had significantly higher rates of all types of sexual abuse and significantly higher rates of lifetime illicit drug use (OR=3.6). Logistic regression analysis adjusting for potential confounders (age, race, sexual orientation, sexual abuse history, education, income, mental health diagnosis) found that a younger age, a lesbian sexual orientation, and history of depression were associated with history of illicit drug use. All sexual abuse variables dropped out of the model and therefore were not significant predictors of lifetime illicit drug use. The data suggest that future drug recovery programs and interventions should examine how sexual orientation influences drug use, specifically for lesbians.

Learning Objectives:
1.Describe the prevalence of sexual abuse and substance use in adult women, specifically in relation to sexual orientation. 2.Identify predictors of substance use in a sample of 1084 women in Pittsburgh, PA. 3.Describe the similarities and differences in types of substance use among lesbian and heterosexual women as it relates to sexual abuse.

Keywords: Drug Abuse, Sexual Assault

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract Author on the content I present. I was a graduate student researcher (GSR) for the ESTHER Project and have been working with the principle investigators of this project for several years. The ESTHER Project dataset was used for this analysis. Also I plan to graduate with my PhD in epidemiology in April 2009.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.