Investigating Differential Protective Effects of Marriage on Substance Use by Sexual Identity Status
Background: Research suggests that marriage is protective against substance use. However, few studies have examined whether this protective effect differs for sexual minorities, a population at increased risk for substance use. Using data from four waves of the cross-sectional U.S. National Alcohol Survey (NAS; 2000, 2005, 2010, and 2015), we investigated whether the protective effects of marriage varied by sexual identity.
Methods: Sex-stratified logistic regression models were used to examine independent and interactive effects of current marital status (being married vs. not) and sexual minority status (lesbian/gay/bisexual vs. heterosexual) on high-intensity drinking, alcohol use disorder, and marijuana use in the past year.
Results: Among both women and men, sexual minority status was generally associated with higher odds of these outcomes and marriage was consistently associated with lower odds. Differential effects of marriage by sexual identity with respect to marijuana use were found only among men; marriage was significantly associated with decreased odds of marijuana use among heterosexual men but increased odds among sexual minority men.
Conclusions: Marriage may be less consistently protective against hazardous drinking and marijuana use among sexual minorities than heterosexuals. Findings underscore the importance of both quantitative and qualitative studies designed to better understand disparities in substance use across both sexual identity and relationship statuses.
In consideration of publishing this article the authors transfer, assign, or otherwise convey all copyright ownership to the International Journal of Alcohol and Drug Research. By this transfer, the article becomes the property of the International Journal of Alcohol and Drug Research and may not be published elsewhere without written permission from the journal.
This transfer of copyright also implies transfer of rights for printed, electronic, microfilm, and facsimile publication. The author(s) will receive no royalty or other monetary compensation for transferring the copyright of the article to the International Journal of Alcohol and Drug Research. IJADR, in turn, grants each author the right to republish the article, without paying royalties to IJADR, in any book of which he or she is the author or editor, subject to the express conditions that (a) the author notify the International Journal of Alcohol and Drug Research in writing of this republication and (b) a credit line attributes the original publication to the International Journal Of Alcohol and Drug Research.
Articles are licenced with a Creative Commons License Deed -- you are free to share articles but must give appropriate attribution, may not use for commercial purposes or distribute modified works. See CC/BY-NC/ND/4.0/.
As the submitting author, and on behalf of all of the manuscript authors I agree with the terms above relating to the copyright transfer of the manuscript to the International Journal of Alcohol and Drug Research.