Binge Drinking and Internalised Sexual Stigma among Italian Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Young Adults

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BACKGROUND – Literature has studied the relation between youth alcohol consumption and sexual orientation, showing that lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) young people are at increased risk to develop alcohol-related problems compared to heterosexuals.

AIM – Our study aims to describe alcohol use patterns in relation to alcohol expectancies, internalised sexual stigma and sensation seeking and to highlight the specific risk factors that sexual minority subgroups face.

DESIGN – A survey was administered in order to examine drinking habits, background information and levels of internalised sexual stigma and of sensation seeking in 468 LGB youths. According to the alcohol consumption, the sample was divided into three groups: social, binge and heavy drinkers.

RESULTS – Data showed that bisexual youths were at most risk of heavy drinking compared to lesbian and gay participants. Moreover, LGB heavy drinkers reported higher levels of sensation seeking, earlier age of first alcohol consumption and more positive drinking expectancies compared to binge and social drinkers. Bisexual male heavy drinkers also showed more social confidence alcohol expectancies while bisexual female heavy drinkers showed more sensation seeking.

CONCLUSION – Bisexual youths are at most risk of alcohol abuse. It is conceivable that these findings are related to the peculiar discrimination to which bisexual people are subject. Practical implications for the present study are discussed.

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