Trajectories of alcohol and cigarette use among sexual minority and heterosexual girls

Michael P. Marshal, Kevin M. King, Stephanie D. Stepp, Alison Hipwell, Helen Smith, Tammy Chung, Mark S. Friedman, Nina Markovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


To examine disparities between sexual minority girls (SMGs) and heterosexual girls in trajectories of substance use over time. Girls were included in the analyses if they were 1218 years of age at wave 1 and did not miss sexual orientation data at wave 4 (n = 7,765). Latent curve models were estimated across all four waves (extending from middle adolescence into young adulthood) to examine trajectories of cigarette and alcohol use. Initial levels of substance use were higher for SMGs than they were for heterosexual girls. SMGs also exhibited sharper escalations in use across all substances over time as they were transitioning into young adulthood. Persistent rates of cigarette and heavy alcohol use among SMGs may increase their risk for a host of mental and physical health problems in adulthood. Clinicians should be prepared to discuss SMG health topics effectively and in private, and discuss prevention and intervention programs with girls at risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-99
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


  • Adolescent health disparities
  • Adolescent substance use
  • Alcohol use
  • Cigarette use
  • Homosexuality
  • LGBT health
  • Sexual minority girls

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