Cover: Health, Homelessness Severity, and Substance Use Among Sexual Minority Youth Experiencing Homelessness

Health, Homelessness Severity, and Substance Use Among Sexual Minority Youth Experiencing Homelessness

A Comparison of Bisexual Versus Gay and Lesbian Youth

Published in: The Journal of Sex Research (2019). doi: 10.1080/00224499.2019.1695723

Posted on on December 11, 2019

by Daniel Siconolfi, Joan S. Tucker, William G. Shadel, Rachana Seelam, Daniela Golinelli

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning (LGBQ) youth are overrepresented among youth experiencing homelessness (YEH), and health disparities among LGBQ youth are well-documented. LGBQ youth are typically aggregated as a single sexual minority group; however, research suggests that bisexual youth may have greater mental health, substance use, and physical health risks relative to their gay and lesbian peers. In a probability sample of LGBQ YEH in Los Angeles County (n = 183), we examined subgroup differences in homelessness severity, depression, physical health, and substance use, focusing on differences between bisexual and gay/lesbian youth due to the small subsample of questioning youth. Indicators of homelessness severity were standalone outcomes, and also were integrated as control variables with gender, age, race/ethnicity, and education in multivariable models. Bisexual youth were more likely to have become unaccompanied homeless persons as minors (OR = 4.35, 95% CI 1.85–10.23), and to have not recently utilized emergency shelters or transitional housing at least once in the past month (OR = 6.41; 95% CI 2.41–17.03). Bisexual youth were more likely to have probable depression (OR = 4.06, 95% CI 1.41–11.68). Among sexual minority YEH, bisexual youth may be at elevated risk for depression, in addition to more severe homelessness.

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