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Subst Use Misuse. 2007;42(2-3):361-80.

Age differences in lesbian identity development and drinking.

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School of Social Work, University of Connecticut, West Hartford, Connecticut 06117, USA.


Women who "come out" as lesbian must learn to cope with a stigmatized identity. Stress associated with the sexual identity development process is a commonly posed explanation for the high rates of "heavy drinking" and drinking consumption-related problems within this population. However, relatively little is known about the sexual identity development process in lesbians and even less about lesbians' drinking patterns during this process. Growing societal tolerance and visibility of sexual minorities over the past 35 years has likely created substantially different environments and experiences of coming out for individuals of different age cohorts. Data from the Chicago Health and Life Experiences of Women study provided the opportunity to examine relationships between variables associated with lesbian identity development and alcohol use-related problems in three age cohorts of self-identified lesbians. The study's limitations are noted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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