Lesbian and bisexual women are at a higher risk for mental health issues and substance use disorders when compared to their heterosexual peers. In general, sexual minority women engage in substance use including alcohol, tobacco and illicit drug use more often. This population also reports higher rates of depression and anxiety than their counterparts. Although the reason for these increased rates remains unknown, there is one possible explanation - minority stress - that helps begin the process of understanding the unique health and mental health needs of this population. Minority stress theory explains and predicts how stressors related to one’s minority identity status impacts lesbian and bisexual women in deleterious ways. These stressors are thought to then impact mental health and substance use outcomes such as the ones described.
- Lehavot, Keren, and Simoni, Jane M. "The Impact of Minority Stress on Mental Health and Substance Use among Sexual Minority Women." Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 79, no. 2 (2011): 159-70.
- Meyer, Ilan H. "Prejudice, Social Stress, and Mental Health in Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Populations: Conceptual Issues and Research Evidence. (Author Abstract)." Psychological Bulletin 129, no. 5 (2003): 674-697.