Belonging to a school Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) is associated with lower substance use among LGBTQ+ youth. However, it is unknown whether GSA participation facilitates access to resources for substance use concerns. Using longitudinal data from 38 Massachusetts high schools, we compared sources of support for substance use concerns listed by GSA members (n = 361) and nonmembers (n = 1539). Subsequently, we tested whether GSA membership was associated with comfort, confidence and awareness regarding substance use resources in school and the community. Finally, we assessed whether specific GSA activities and discussions (e.g. social support) were associated with these outcomes. Among students with recent substance use, GSA membership was associated with greater comfort, confidence and awareness regarding school-based substance use resources in the spring semester, adjusted for fall semester levels and non-GSA club involvement. Furthermore, students in GSAs where members reported more advocacy and social support activities reported higher levels of comfort, confidence and awareness regarding community-based substance use resources. These results indicate that among students using alcohol or nicotine products, GSA members may be more receptive to school-based substance use prevention efforts. Furthermore, GSA-based social support and activism experiences may promote access to community-based substance use resources.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health