Health information and risk behaviors among lesbian, gay, and bisexual college students

J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2006 Aug;18(8):374-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-7599.2006.00142.x.


Purpose: To describe differences in alcohol use, marijuana use, and smoking behaviors between lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) and heterosexual college students, and determine whether there was a difference in the health information each group received.

Data sources: A random sample of 3000 college students aged 18-24 years who were currently enrolled at a southeastern metropolitan university on a full-time basis were invited to participate. The final sample (n = 772) consisted of heterosexuals (n = 731) and LGB (n = 41) college students. Gay and bisexual men (n = 20) and lesbian and bisexual women (n = 21) were compared to heterosexual college students.

Conclusions: Lesbian/bisexual women were 4.9 times more likely to smoke, 10.7 times more likely to drink, and 4.9 times more likely to use marijuana than heterosexual women. Gay/bisexual men did not significantly differ from heterosexual men. There was no difference in the health information on alcohol and drug prevention the groups received. Gay/bisexual men were less likely (p = .02) compared to heterosexual men to have received tobacco prevention information.

Implication for practice: Advanced practice nurses must ensure that every patient receives preventive services and anticipatory guidance at every visit. LGB clients in particular need health assessments and interventions appropriate to their individual risk profiles.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control*
  • Bisexuality* / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Education*
  • Heterosexuality / statistics & numerical data
  • Homosexuality* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Kentucky / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking / epidemiology
  • Marijuana Smoking / prevention & control*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking Prevention*