‘Chronic stress leads gay teenagers to binge drinking’

Chronic stress caused by difficult social situations, including discrimination, victimisation and homophobia, leads to higher rates of binge drinking among lesbian and gay adolescents compared to their heterosexual peers, a study showed.

Gay and lesbian teens reported greater psychological distress when they experienced violence or victimisation, if they had internalized homophobia, and if they had made their sexual orientation known.

The findings were consistent with minority stress theory that says chronic stress due to discrimination, rejection, harassment, concealment of sexual orientation, internalized homophobia and other negative experiences leads to poor health.

Previous studies had shown that lesbian and gay people experience higher rates of physical and mental health problems.