Funding: NIAAA P50AA005595
Pilot Director: Amy Mericle, PhD
A growing body of research has found that lesbian and bisexual (sexual minority) women may be at heightened risk for hazardous drinking and alcohol-related problems. Few individuals who need substance use treatment receive it, and sexual minorities must contend with a host of additional personal, interpersonal, organizational, and societal barriers that may limit access to and affect the quality of needed services. Large-scale, epidemiologic studies examining substance use treatment among sexual minorities are few, and existing studies largely have been limited to assessing whether services were received, neglecting to gather important information on barriers to treatment and treatment experiences in this population. To begin to address this gap in the literature, the aims of this National Alcohol Research Center pilot study are twofold:
AIM 1: To identify reasons why sexual minorities with putative need for substance use treatment (i.e., those who meet criteria for lifetime alcohol dependence) may not access it;
AIM 2: To describe how sexual minorities who meet criteria for lifetime alcohol dependence access substance abuse treatment and the nature of their experiences in it.
Drawing a sample from the ongoing study Sexual Orientation Differences: Prevalence & Correlates of Substance Use & Abuse (R01DA036606; PI, Trocki), this study will involve consecutively recruiting and conducting additional qualitative interviews over the phone with 32 women who meet criteria for lifetime alcohol dependence. Findings from this study will be used to develop and investigate the feasibility of interventions to reduce barriers to substance use treatment and better tailor substance abuse treatment services to meet the needs of sexual minority clients in subsequent studies.
Karen Trocki serves as mentor for this pilot project.