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Journal of Studies on Alcohol



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heavy drinking, heterosexuals, homosexuals, bisexuals


Social Work


Objective: Extensive use of specific social contexts (bars and parties, for instance) by homosexuals and bisexuals is thought to be a factor in the higher rates of drinking among these groups. However, much of the empirical evidence behind these assumptions has been based on studies with methodological or sampling shortcomings. This article examines the epidemiological patterns of alcohol contexts in relation to sexual identity, using a large, national, probability population survey. Method: We used the 2000 National Alcohol Survey for these analyses. The prevalence of spending leisure time in each of two social contexts (bars and parties) that are associated with heavier drinking is examined by sexual orientation (heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual and self-identified heterosexuals with same sex partners). In addition, we compare levels of drinking within these contexts by sexual orientation within these groups. Results: Exclusively heterosexual women spent less time in these two contexts relative to all other groups of women. Gay men spent considerably more time in bars compared with the other groups of men. Heterosexual women who reported same sex partners drink more at bars, and bisexual women drink more alcohol at both bars and parties than exclusively heterosexual women. For men, there were no significant differences for average consumption in any of these contexts. Entry of background and demographic variables into logistic regression analyses did little to modify these associations. Conclusions: There is empirical evidence that some groups of homosexual and bisexual women and men spend more time than heterosexual individuals in heavier drinking contexts. The frequency of being in these two social contexts does not appear to be associated with heavier drinking within these contexts for men, but it may be related to heavier drinking in those places among some groups of women.


Posted with permission from Alcohol Research Documentation, Inc., the copyright holder and publisher of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol (now the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs). Website: http://www.jsad.com. Copyright is retained by the publisher.

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