Associations among sexual attraction status, school belonging, and alcohol and marijuana use in rural high school students

Sharon Scales Rostosky, Gina P. Owens, Rick S. Zimmerman, Ellen D.B. Riggle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Analysis of data collected from 1725 9th graders from 25 rural high schools revealed that students reporting same-sex attraction or uncertainty about their attraction status also reported significantly lower GPAs, lower school belonging, and higher marijuana and alcohol use. Regression analyses confirmed that beyond the effects of GPA and biological sex, sexual minority attraction status was negatively associated with school belonging. Further, while higher school belonging significantly decreased the odds of alcohol and marijuana use, sexual attraction status did not significantly contribute to the model. Post-hoc analyses indicated that sexual minority students systematically reported that they perceived less privacy in completing the survey, lending support to the notion that these adolescents may feel less trusting of their school environments. These findings are discussed in light of the need for interventions to address the developmental challenges of sexual minority students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-751
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by the National Institute of Alcohol and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA) grant number AA1-747 to Rick S. Zimmerman, Principal Investigator, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky. Sharon Rostosky's work on this paper was partially supported by a 2002 University of Kentucky Summer Faculty Research Fellowship. The authors wish to thank Eric Anderman, Ph.D., and Olga Dekhtyar for data analytic assistance, and Gary Hansen, Ph.D., for the coordination of the data collection.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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