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      Substance Use in Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Populations: An Update on Empirical Research and Implications for Treatment

      research-article
      ,
      Psychology of Addictive Behaviors
      substance use, lesbian, gay, bisexual, review, treatment

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          Abstract

          Historically, substance use problems were thought to be more prevalent in lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) populations, and correcting skewed perceptions about substance abuse among LGB individuals is critically important. This review provides an update on empirical evidence on LGB substance use patterns and treatment outcome, with specific focus on clinical implications of findings. Compared to earlier studies, the recent research included in this review has used more sophisticated methodologies, more representative samples, and also has investigated multiple dimensions of sexual orientation in relation to substance use patterns. Findings from recent research suggest that lesbians and bisexual women are at greater risk for alcohol and drug use disorders and related problems, and that gay and bisexual men are at greater risk for illicit drug use and related problems. Several sociocultural factors have emerged as correlates of substance use patterns in LGB populations (e.g., affiliation with gay culture, HIV-status), and several demographic characteristics (e.g., female, older age) do not appear to be as robust of protective factors against substance abuse for LGB individuals compared to heterosexual populations. Bisexual identity and/or behavior in particular seem to be related to increased risk for substance abuse. In terms of treatment outcome, limitations of extant research prevent conclusions about the relative impact of LGB-specific interventions, and further research that includes women and uses more equivalent comparison interventions is needed. Clinical implications of research findings are discussed for case identification, selection of treatment goals (e.g., moderation versus abstinence), targets for intervention, and specific treatment modalities.

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          Author and article information

          Contributors
          Journal
          8802734
          21679
          Psychol Addict Behav
          Psychol Addict Behav
          Psychology of Addictive Behaviors
          0893-164X
          1939-1501
          14 October 2011
          07 November 2011
          June 2012
          01 June 2013
          : 26
          : 2
          : 265-278
          Affiliations
          Psychology Service, VA Boston Healthcare System and Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
          Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University
          Author notes
          Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Kelly E. Green, Ph.D., VA Boston Healthcare System, Psychology Service (116B), 940 Belmont Street, Brockton, MA 02310. Kelly.Green3@ 123456va.gov
          Article
          PMC3288601 PMC3288601 3288601 nihpa323847
          10.1037/a0025424
          3288601
          22061339
          f7281f79-779b-4ce3-b283-581aac6dab49
          History
          Categories
          Article

          treatment,substance use,lesbian,gay,bisexual,review
          treatment, substance use, lesbian, gay, bisexual, review

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