PITTSBURGH — A new study out of Pittsburgh finds that teen girls who identify as lesbian or bi are at a higher risk of substance abuse and behavioral problems according to Pitt News, the daily newspaper of the University of Pittsburgh, which cited results of a study published in the Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association.
The Pittsburgh Girls Study collected data from thousands of girls since the year 2000 and assessed them annually to examine the development of depression.
Of the participants, all between the ages of 16-19, 1,891 self-identified as straight and 173 self-identified as lesbian or bisexual.
The lesbian and bisexual girls surveyed were four times more likely to report marijuana use or “suicidal ideation,” compared with their heterosexual peers over the previous year. They were five times more likely to report cigarette use and twice as likely to report alcohol use, the study found.
Symptoms of various personality and conduct disorders were significantly more severe, the Pitt article said.
Researchers said the disparity is partly due to the “minority stress hypothesis” — the idea that being in socially excluded groups can lead to adverse health outcomes.
The study also explored how race affects these groups as well.