Texas Tech University

Why non-heterosexual women are more likely to abuse alcohol


June 4, 2015

Fusion - If Caitlyn Jenner has taught us anything this week, it’s that being one’s true self is key to mental and emotional health—particularly when it comes to gender and sexual orientation. But if the message wasn’t already coming through loud and clear, a new study drives home the point, revealing that the stress of feeling stuck between who you want to be and who you’re allowed to be can lead to self-destructive coping mechanisms.

Researchers from Texas Tech University, University of Illinois at Chicago, and University of Utah examined data collected from hundreds of self-identified sexual minority women spanning 10 years over three different waves.

They collected the data from the Chicago Health and Life Experiences of Women (CHLEW) from 2000 to 2010 to find out if and why these women are more likely to engage in risky alcoholic behavior.

"We thought people would be more likely to report hazardous drinking, that is, drinking to intoxication, binge drinking and other negative consequences associated with drinking," said Amelia E. Talley, an assistant professor at Texas Tech University and co-author of the study, in a press release. All as a way to "alleviate self-focus and take away negative affectivity by distracting themselves from these inconsistencies," she explained.

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