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J Psychoactive Drugs. 2008 Nov;Suppl 5:345-56.

Bar patronage and motivational predictors of drinking in the San Francisco Bay Area: gender and sexual identity differences.

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Alcohol Research Group, Emeryville, CA 94608, USA.


Prior research has found heavier drinking and alcohol-related problems to be more prevalent in sexual minority populations, particularly among women. It has been suggested that differences may be explained in part by socializing in bars and other public drinking venues. This study explores gender, sexual orientation and bar patronage in two different samples: respondents from a random digit dial (RDD) probability study of 1,043 households in Northern California and 569 individuals who were surveyed exiting from 25 different bars in the same three counties that constituted the RDD sample. Bar patrons, in most instances, were at much higher risk of excessive consumption and related problems and consequences. On several key variables, women from the bar patron sample exceeded the problem rates of men in the general population. Bisexual women and bisexual men exhibited riskier behavior on many alcohol measures relative to heterosexuals. Measures of heavier drinking and alcohol-related problems were also elevated among lesbians compared to heterosexual women. Two of the bar motive variables, sensation seeking and mood change motives, were particularly predictive of heavier drinking and alcohol-related problems. Social motives did not predict problems.

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