Mental Health and Substance Use Disparities Among Urban Adolescent Lesbian and Bisexual Girls

Michael P. Marshal, Sarah S. Dermody, Michelle L. Shultz, Gina S. Sucato, Stephanie D. Stepp, Tammy Chung, Chad M. Burton, Nina Markovic, Alison E. Hipwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Sexual minority girls (SMGs) report large substance use disparities and victimization experiences, yet there is a dearth of research that focuses exclusively on SMGs. OBJECTIVE: To examine substance use and mental health disparities among SMGs and to determine whether disparities were larger for African American compared with European American girls. METHOD: Data were used from Wave 11 of the Pittsburgh Girls Study, a multiple-cohort, prospective study of urban girls. Girls for the current analysis were aged 16 to 19 years. Fifty-five percent were African American. One hundred and seventy-three (8.3%) identified as SMGs, and 1,891 identified as heterosexual. Multiple regression analyses controlling for age, race, and parent education were conducted. RESULTS: SMGs reported a robust pattern of large disparities in externalizing, internalizing, and borderline personality disorder symptoms. There was little evidence to suggest disparities were moderated by race. CONCLUSION: SMGs and their families would benefit from intervention and prevention programs to reduce disparities among this highly vulnerable population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-279
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Phychiatric Mental Health


  • adolescent girls
  • intersectionality
  • mental health
  • sexual orientation
  • substance use


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