Functional and structural social support, substance use and sexual orientation from a nationally representative sample of US adults.Addiction. 2020 03; 115(3):546-558.A
BACKGROUND AND AIMS
Sexual minority (SM) populations experience higher rates of substance use disorder (SUD) associated with increased sexual orientation-related stress. Social support may moderate the impact of stress on SUD among SM adults. This study assessed associations between social support and DSM-5 SUD by sex and sexual minority identity.
Cross-sectional study using data from the 2012-13 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC-III).
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS
A nationally representative cross-sectional sample of adults (n = 36 309) in the United States.
SUD were defined based on the DSM-5 criteria for alcohol use (AUD), tobacco use (TUD) and drug use (DUD) disorders. Structural social support was measured as the type and frequency of kin and non-kin contact, and functional social support was measured by the Social Provision Scale.
SM adults had higher odds of all SUD compared to heterosexual adults [AUD = 1.535, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.782-1.844; TUD = 1.512, 95% CI = 1.234-1.854; DUD = 1.520, 95% CI = 1.139-2.028]; SM women experienced the highest proportion of all SUD (AUD = 27.1%, TUD = 29.1%, DUD = 10.9%). Type of social support was differentially associated with SUD by sex and sexual identity status. Higher social provision was associated with lower rates of AUD [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 0.771, 95% CI = 0.705-0.844], TUD (aOR = 0.747, 95% CI = 0.694-0.804] and DUD (aOR = 0.558, 95% CI = 0.490-0.636). Marriage was associated with lower SUD among heterosexual men (AUD, aOR = 0.500, 95% CI = 0.432-0.579; TUD, aOR = 0.603, 95% CI = 0.521-0.699; DUD, aOR = 0.504, 95% CI = 0.369-0.689) and women (AUD, aOR = 0.637, 95% CI = 0.529-0.767; TUD = 0.0.584, 95% CI = 0.507-0.671; DUD, aOR = 0.515, 95% CI = 0.372-0.712). Compared to heterosexual adults, SM women with at least one child under the age of 18 years had higher odds of TUD (aOR = 1.990, 95% CI = 1.325-2.988). SM-related discrimination was not associated with SUD among some SM subgroups, but discrimination among male heterosexually identifying individuals reporting same-sex attraction or behavior was associated AUD (aOR = 4.608, 95% CI = 1.615-13.14).
In the United States there are significant associations between functional support (quality or provision of support) and structural support (type and frequency of social networks) and substance use disorder (SUD) which differ by sex and sexual identity status.