Adolescent same-sex romantic attractions and relationships: implications for substance use and abuse

Am J Public Health. 2002 Feb;92(2):198-202. doi: 10.2105/ajph.92.2.198.


Objectives: Nationally representative data were used to examine associations of romantic attractions and relationships with substance use and abuse.

Methods: Data from the Add Health Study were examined. Youths reporting same-sex and both-sex romantic attractions and relationships were compared with those reporting opposite-sex attractions. Survey regression and logistic regression were used to control for sample design effects.

Results: In the case of certain outcomes, romantic attraction affected males differently than females. Youths with both-sex attractions were at a somewhat higher risk for substance use and abuse than were heterosexual youths; females with same-sex attractions were also at higher risk for some outcomes. Sexual-minority youths varied little from heterosexual youths in regard to trajectories of substance use and abuse.

Conclusions: These findings highlight the importance of distinguishing between youths with only same-sex attractions and those with both-sex attractions. These findings also call into question previous findings indicating that sexual-minority youths are automatically "at risk."

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Bisexuality / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Homosexuality / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • United States / epidemiology