Associations between Supportive School Climates and Alcohol Drinking Patterns among U.S. High School Students
Methods: Data on supportive school climates (e.g., percentage of schools with safe spaces and Gay-Straight Alliances) were derived from the 2010 School Health Profile Survey. Data on sexual orientation identity, demographics, and alcohol use were from the pooled 2005 and 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Surveys from 8 jurisdictions. We fit two-level Poisson models to examine student- and jurisdiction-level correlates for number of past-month drinking days and HED days.
Results: Fewer drinking days were reported by heterosexuals living in jurisdictions with more versus less supportive school climates (incidence rate-ratio [IRR]=0.98; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.95,1.00). Supportive school climates were marginally associated with fewer drinking days for gays/lesbians (IRR=0.82; 95% CI: 0.65,1.02) and youth unsure of their sexual orientation (IRR=0.86; 95% CI: 0.68,1.09). Fewer HED days were reported by gays/lesbians (IRR=0.70; 95% CI: 0.56,0.87) and heterosexuals (IRR=0.80; 95% CI: 0.76,0.83) living in jurisdictions with more supportive school climates. Supportive school climates were marginally associated with fewer HED days for youth unsure of their sexual orientation (IRR=0.67; 95% CI: 0.43,1.05). For bisexuals, a supportive school climate was unassociated with drinking days and HED days.
Conclusions: LGB-supportive school climates may reduce drinking behaviors for gays/lesbians, heterosexuals, and youth unsure of their sexual orientation.
Learning Areas:Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences
Assess whether living in jurisdictions (i.e., states and cities) with school climates that are more supportive of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth was associated with reduced frequency of drinking and heavy episodic drinking.
Keyword(s): Adolescents, Alcohol Use
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral candidate in public health at the University of Pittsburgh. I conducted analyses, interpreted results, and wrote the abstract.
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.