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J Homosex. 2008;54(3):280-92. doi: 10.1080/00918360801982181.

A clinical comparison of lesbian and heterosexual women in a psychiatric outpatient clinic.

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Pacific Graduate School of Psychology, USA.


Previous research has reported that when compared to heterosexual women, lesbians may use alcohol and illicit substances to a greater degree and may experience greater psychiatric symptomatology. This study sought to describe any differences in clinical diagnoses, familial histories, and substance usage between lesbian and heterosexual women in a psychiatric outpatient clinic. A chart review was conducted and a sample of 455 heterosexuals and 75 lesbians was obtained. Data, where available, included demographic information, clinical diagnoses, time in treatment, sexual orientation, past and present substance use, and familial substance abuse and psychiatric history. Lesbians were found to have greater past illicit substance use but less current use. No significant differences were found for alcohol use. Similarly, no significant differences in clinical diagnoses were found. Significant differences were found among families. Family members of lesbians had greater substance use and psychiatric histories. These findings both support and dispute some previous research and suggest areas for future researchers to explore.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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