Sexual Orientation In College Students Linked To Drinking
College drinking has been on the rise recently. worrying officials and parents. A new study from the University of Missouri looked into drinking among college students and came up with an interesting conclusion: that those without a defined heterosexuality or homosexuality drink the heaviest.
It is a common thing in college to explore one's sexuality in an attempt to try and connect with like-minded individuals. The findings could help with programs for sexual minorities and help curb alcohol abuse.
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"Bisexuals and students whose sexual orientation was in flux reported the heaviest drinking and most negative consequences from alcohol use, such as uncontrolled drinking and withdrawal symptoms," said Amelia Talley, assistant professor of psychological sciences in the College of Arts and Science at the University of Missouri.
"Those groups reported drinking to relieve anxiety and depression at higher rates than strictly heterosexual or homosexual individuals. One possible explanation is that people who aren't either completely heterosexual or homosexual may feel stigmatized by both groups."
To conduct the study, the team followed 2,000 students over the four years of their college. The students were asked to fill out surveys twice a year on their sexual orientation and drinking habits.
"Exclusively homosexual and heterosexual persons drank at roughly the same rate and reported drinking to enhance enjoyment of social situations," said Talley.
"The other sexual minority groups tended to report more alcohol misuse. This suggests that it may be the stressful process of developing one's sexual identity that contributes to problematic drinking, just as people in any difficult situation in life may turn to alcohol to alleviate stress."
The study also showed that females admitted to being attracted to the same sex without defining themselves as completely homosexual, unlike men.