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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2016 Apr 1;161:323-30. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2016.02.025. Epub 2016 Feb 24.

Sexual orientation, treatment utilization, and barriers for alcohol related problems: Findings from a nationally representative sample.

Author information

1
School of Social Work, University of Georgia, 279 Williams Street, Athens, GA 30605, United States. Electronic address: jlalle13@uga.edu.
2
School of Social Work, University of Georgia, 279 Williams Street, Athens, GA 30605, United States. Electronic address: omowbray@uga.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Gay, lesbian, and bisexual (GLB) individuals appear to have an increased likelihood of alcohol use disorders and treatment utilization for alcohol related problems compared to heterosexual individuals. Despite this increase, treatment utilization rates among GLB individuals remain low. In an effort to address this, our paper examined whether or not GLB individuals encounter unique barriers when pursuing treatment for alcohol related problems.

METHODS:

Using data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol Related Conditions (NESARC), we examined service sector specific factors, some of which included (a) utilization rates, (b) self-reported treatment barriers, and (c) whether or not there were emergent differences among GLB individuals, after controlling for socio-demographic and clinical characteristics.

RESULTS:

Findings indicated that GLB individuals reported higher severity rates for alcohol use disorders when compared to heterosexual individuals, and were significantly more likely to utilize treatment services for alcohol related problems, however, not across all treatment sectors. While similar patterns were observed when examining barriers to treatment, bisexual individuals reported significantly more barriers than heterosexual and gay/lesbian individuals.

CONCLUSION:

These findings underscored the importance of identifying and developing interventions that addresses treatment barriers associated with alcohol use service utilization among GLB populations, and creating improved outreach and education programs to better address stigmas associated with substance use and sexuality.

KEYWORDS:

Alcohol; Barriers; Sexual orientation; Treatment

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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