Does comparing alcohol use along a single dimension obscure within-group differences? Investigating men's hazardous drinking by sexual orientation and race/ethnicity.Drug Alcohol Depend. 2015 Jun 01; 151:101-9.DA
Some studies have found that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) have higher odds of alcohol abuse and dependence than heterosexual men, but others have found no differences. We investigated whether the association between sexual orientation and hazardous drinking varied by race/ethnicity.
We estimated the odds of past-year heavy daily, heavy weekly, and binge drinking by sexual orientation and race/ethnicity among non-Latino White, non-Latino Black, and Latino (any race) men (n = 9689) who reported current alcohol use in the 2004-2005 National Epidemiological Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). Interaction terms were included in multivariable logistic regression models to evaluate possible effect modification.
In most comparisons, sexual minority men reported equivalent or lower levels of hazardous drinking than heterosexual peers. There was no association between sexual orientation and heavy daily drinking. Sexual minority Black men had lower odds of heavy weekly drinking and binge drinking than both heterosexual White men and heterosexual Black men. Among Latinos, the odds of heavy weekly drinking were higher for sexual minority men than heterosexuals; there was no difference by sexual orientation for binge drinking among Latinos.
With one exception, sexual minority men were at equivalent or lower risk of hazardous drinking than heterosexual men. The Black-White advantage observed in other alcohol studies was observed in our study and was heightened among sexual minority men, suggesting the presence of protective factors that curb hazardous drinking. Additional research is necessary to identify the mechanisms responsible for these patterns.