Canada: Having to live in a homophobic environment and difficult social conditions of discrimination and victimization causes chronic stress that leads to binge drinking among gay and lesbian adolescent, says a study.
Gay and lesbian teens reported greater psychological distress when compared to their heterosexual peers and even experienced violence if they made their sexual orientation known says an IANS report.
The study was conducted by researchers from the Saban Research Institute of Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles who analyzed responses from 1,232 persons aged 12-18 years who took part in an online survey.
The findings were consistent with minority stress theory that says chronic stress due to discrimination, rejection, harassment, concealment of sexual orientation, internalized homophobia, negative attitudes toward same-sex relations and other negative experiences leads to poor health.
Internalized homophobia was a significant predictor of binge drinking, while violence or victimization was marginally associated with binge drinking, the study showed.
“Studies like this one can potentially lead to tailored treatment approaches based on the unique experiences of lesbian and gay adolescents,” said lead author Sheree Schrager.
Schrager presented the study May 3 at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in Vancouver, Canada.
Previous studies dealing with health issues have shown that gay people experience higher rates of physical and mental health problems.
Elsewhere, Maha Rabbatha, a clinical psychologist at a Lebanese sexual health centre that helps people cope with the region’s harsh anti-gay environment told aljazeera.com that a number of gay people repress their urges to assimilate into a homophobic environment and that this is extremely harmful to one’s mental health.
“The consequences can be devastating: self-destructive attitudes, compulsive sexual behavior, drug abuse,” she added.