Conference Stream: Intersections
Presenter: Rhonda Brown
Presentation Title: Smoking and Alcohol Interventions for Lesbian and Bisexual Women
Program schedule: Friday 14 August 2015 at 14:30
Duration: 10 mins
Research has consistently demonstrated that lesbians and bisexual women (LBW) have higher rates of smoking and hazardous alcohol use than heterosexual women. For example Australian LBW have been found to be nearly three times as likely to be using alcohol at risky levels and twice as likely to be smoking than heterosexual women. Stress has been found to be an important contributing factor to hazardous drinking and high rates of smoking among LBW. High levels of stress in LBW are associated with experiences of sexuality-based stigma (minority stress) and discrimination. The relationship between nicotine and alcohol use and mental health problems has been well established. For example, depression and anxiety in young people has also been found to predict initiation into smoking and increase the risk of smoking and alcohol is used as a way of coping with mental health issues. Despite high rates of alcohol use and smoking among LBW, research demonstrates that LBW are less satisfied with substance use treatment than heterosexual women. This may be in part is explained by communication barriers with health care providers arising from fears of homophobia, stigmatisation, confidentiality or negative past experiences. In this paper I argue that LBW culturally specific smoking cessation and alcohol reduction interventions are needed to address these health disparities.