The prevalence and correlates of substance use and abuse were explored among lesbian, gay male, and bisexual youth recruited from gay-focused organizations in New York City. Lifetime substance use was prevalent and frequent, as was quantity of use and substance abuse symptoms. Few significant gender or ethnic differences emerged, but the significant differences unexpectedly indicated that the female youth were at greater risk for substance abuse than the male youth. Number of substances ever used and substance abuse symptoms were associated with initiating alcohol and illicit drugs to cope with psychological issues. However, number of substances ever used and substance abuse symptoms were not explained by social learning theory, social control theory, or self-derogation theory when relations were explored. The findings are interpreted from the perspective of sexual identity, specifically that gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth may use substances to cope with the societal stigma of homosexuality.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science