Meyer’s minority stress model posits that discrimination, internalized homophobia, and social stigma can create a hostile and stressful social environment for LGB adults that contributes to mental health problems, including substance use disorders.Not too surprising:
Of particular note is that LGB adults who reported none of the 3 types of discrimination in their lifetime had rates of past-year substance use disorders that were similar to those of heterosexual adults. This finding was most pronounced in the male sample.There are at least three possible explanations:
1. Discrimination against the LGB causes substance abuse.
2. Substance abuse causes behavior that is interpreted as discrimination against the LGB. Think of the infamous 1970s guilt tool:
"Is it because I'm black?"
"No, because you are a jerk, and you would be a jerk no matter what color you were."
3. Some other factor causes both substance abuse and LGB sexual orientation.
What makes this article especially interesting is that later on, they explain that:
In our investigation, we assumed that LGB adults are at heightened risk for substance use disorders as a consequence of cultural and environmental factors associated with being part of a stigmatized and marginalized population, not because of their sexual orientation.Yet slightly later:
One unexpected result was that there was no statistically significant relationship between substance use disorders and sexual orientation discrimination alone in the final regression models. Given the putative relationships among discrimination, stress, substance use, and mental health disorders posited in the minority stress model, this finding was surprising.It was only those LGBs who were the subject of gender discrimination, racial discrimination, and sexual orientation discrimination, who were at increased risk of substance abuse. They of course had a theory to explain this, but it makes me just a bit skeptical of their assumption, especially because I think it is fair to say that there was likely more direct and harsher discrimination based on sexual orientation in the U.S. in 2004-2005 when this study was carried out than there was based on gender or race.
As I have pointed out before, homosexuals are disproportionately adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. There is a pretty well-known correlation between substance abuse and childhood sexual abuse, and between homosexuality and substance abuse. It doesn't take any great leap of faith to suspect a connection between premature sexualization and effects on adult sexuality. Why is there this nearly Oedipus-like desire to be blind to this as a research direction to investigate?