Females who identify as sexual minorities face an increased risk of substance use that shows up as early as age 13, suggesting early adolescence is a critical period for prevention and intervention efforts, a new study from Oregon State University has found.
The odds of substance use among females who identify as sexual minorities—an umbrella term for those who identify with any sexual identity other than heterosexual or who report same-sex attraction or behavior—is 400% higher than their heterosexual female peers.
“We saw this striking difference in substance use at age 13 and there was rapid increase in the rate of cigarette and alcohol use from there,” said Sarah Dermody, an assistant professor in the School of Psychological Science in OSU’s College of Liberal Arts and the study’s lead author. “That tells us we need to find ways to intervene as early as possible to help prevent substance use in this population.”
The findings were published recently in the Journal of LGBT Youth. Co-authors are James McGinley of McGinley Statistical…