232539 Alcohol, tobacco and other drug use among sexual minority women

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 2:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Michele Eliason, PhD , Department of Health Education, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
Sexual minority women (lesbian, bisexual, and women who have sex with women but do not use labels) are at higher risk for substance use and abuse than women who identify as heterosexual. Nearly every study in the past twenty years, whether using convenience samples or representative probability sampling, and whether conducted in rural or urban areas, confirms this, but there has been less research about potential subsets of sexual minority female populations by sexual identity category, age, race/ethnicity, income level or other characteristics. This presentation reviews the complex literature on the relationships between sexual identity categories and substance use data, and suggests that bisexual women and women who have sex with women without adopting labels are a higher risk than those who identify as lesbians. Possible explanations for this finding will be explored, along with discussion of underlying reasons for higher substance use, and exploration of some of the barriers to accessing treatment services for substance abuse and smoking cessation treatments. The presentation ends with a theoretical framework for developing interventions for substance abuse among sexual minority women that addresses individual, community, and larger societal levels influences.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1)Describe alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use patterns among sexual minority women; 2)Identify at least three possible reasons for the excess in substance use in sexual minority women compared to heterosexual women; 3)Design interventions drawn from an integral theoretical framework that explores biological, psychological, social, cultural, and broader worldview influences on attitudes about sexual identities and orientations.

Keywords: Lesbian Health, Tobacco

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted research on lesbian/LGBT health care for over 20 years and taught courses on sexual health. This presentation is based on a chapter I wrote for a book on lesbian health.
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.