Substance Use and School Characteristics in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Heterosexual High School Students

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9 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use among lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) high school students as well as related environment and school-level risk and protective factors were examined. METHODS: Data was acquired from the 2015 CDC's Youth Behavior Risk Survey for Kentucky (N = 2577). Prevalence of substance use was calculated for all high school respondents by reported sexual orientation. Multivariate analyses estimated the relationship between school and environmental-level factors (eg, having an adult to talk to) and tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use via logistic regressions. Sexual orientation, gender, age, and race/ethnicity were covariates. RESULTS: LGB students used tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs more frequently than their heterosexual counterparts. More LGB teens report facing school risk factors (eg, 37% LGB vs 20% heterosexual bullied at school, p ≤.001; 17% LGB vs 5% heterosexual ever threatened or injured at school, p <.001; 13% LGB vs 7% heterosexual involved in a school fight, p =.001). Adjusting for school related risk factors, having an adult to talk to was associated with a reduced likelihood of daily smoking (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 0.43; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.26–0.73), past 30-day alcohol use (aOR: 0.71; 95% CI: 0.50–0.95), and ever marijuana use (aOR: 0.71; 95% CI: 0.50–1.00). CONCLUSION: Innovative strategies are needed to create safe, supportive school environments. These strategies are particularly needed in predominately rural states like Kentucky.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-225
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of School Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, American School Health Association


  • LGB
  • drugs
  • public health
  • sexual orientation
  • smoking & tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Philosophy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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