J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2012 Mar;73(2):290-302.
Patterns of alcohol use and consequences among empirically derived sexual minority subgroups.
Talley AE, Sher KJ, Steinley D, Wood PK, Littlefield AK.
University of Missouri and the Midwest Alcoholism Research Center, Columbia, Missouri.
The current study develops an empirically determined classification of sexual orientation developmental patterns based on participants' annual reports of self-identifications, sexual attractions, and sexual behaviors during the first 4 years of college. A secondary aim of the current work was to examine trajectories of alcohol involvement among identified subgroups.
Data were drawn from a subsample of a longitudinal study of incoming first-time college students at a large, public university (n = 2,068). Longitudinal latent class analysis was used to classify sexual minority participants into empirically derived subgroups based on three self-reported facets of sexual orientation. Multivariate repeated-measures analyses were conducted to examine how trajectories of alcohol involvement varied by sexual orientation class membership.
Four unique subclasses of sexual orientation developmental patterns were identified for males and females: one consistently exclusively heterosexual group and three sexual minority groups. Despite generally similar alcohol use patterns among subclasses, certain sexual minority subgroups reported elevated levels of alcohol-related negative consequences and maladaptive motivations for use throughout college compared with their exclusively heterosexual counterparts.
Elevations in coping and conformity motivations for alcohol use were seen among those subgroups that also evidenced heightened negative alcohol-related consequences. Implications and limitations of the current work are discussed.