Experiencing discrimination increases risk for alcohol-related problems in gay/bi men

Past studies have shown that experiencing discrimination has consequences for the emotional and physical health of those who experience it. In a paper published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, we showed that experiencing discrimination based on one's sexual orientation or HIV status was associated with an increased risk of experiencing problems with alcohol in gay/bi men.

In this study, we collected surveys from 368 LGBT men, 186 of whom were also living with HIV. The surveys asked about whether these men had experienced various types of discrimination, ranging from assault to verbal slights or social exclusion, based on either their HIV status (for those living with HIV) or their sexual orientation, as well as whether they had experienced problems that are common in those with alcohol disorders. 

Results showed that those who reported experiencing more discrimination were at higher risk for having problems due to alcohol, even though they didn't drink any more heavily than others. They also showed that this association was especially clear in those who say they drink in order to deal with negative events and feelings.