Alcohol Use and Cannabis Use Trajectories and Sexual/Gender Minority Disparities in Young Adulthood

Published in: Psychology of Addictive Behaviors (2022). doi: 10.1037/adb0000806

Posted on RAND.org on February 08, 2022

by Michael Stephen Dunbar, Daniel Siconolfi, Anthony Rodriguez, Rachana Seelam, Jordan P. Davis, Joan S. Tucker, Elizabeth J. D'Amico

Read More

Access further information on this document at APA PsycNet

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Objective

Sexual and gender minority (SGM) young people may use alcohol or cannabis (A/C) at higher rates that non-SGM peers, but little is known about whether SGM young adults experience poorer health, psychosocial, and other outcomes at similar levels of A/C use.

Method

We used longitudinal survey data from a community cohort recruited from California middle schools in 2008 (average age 11.5) and followed across 12 waves through 2020. Participants reported on past-month A/C use at each wave. Individuals also reported SGM status as well as outcomes in multiple domains in Wave 12. Sequelae of change models tested differences in intercept and slope for A/C use trajectories from Waves 1–12 across SGM groups, and simultaneously examined differences in outcomes by SGM status adjusting separately for A/C trajectories.

Results

SGM (n = 445) and non-SGM (n = 2,089) groups did not differ on baseline probability of A/C use. SGM individuals showed steeper increases in probability of cannabis but not alcohol use over time. Adjusting for trajectories of A/C use, SGM individuals had significant disparities relative to non-SGM peers with respect to: Employment and economic stability, criminal justice involvement, social functioning, subjective physical health, behavioral health, and perceived unmet mental health treatment need.

Conclusions

At the same levels of A/C use from middle school through young adulthood, SGM individuals show disparities in multiple domains compared to non-SGM peers. Targeted efforts to reduce substance use in conjunction with other structural disadvantages experienced by SGM youths are needed to address the emergence of disparities in young adulthood.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/research-integrity.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.