Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (i.e., sexual minority) populations have higher smoking prevalence than their heterosexual peers, but there is a lack of empirical study into why such disparities exist. This secondary analysis of data sought to examine associations of discrimination and violence victimization with cigarette smoking within sexual orientation groups.
Data from the Fall 2008 and Spring 2009 National College Health Assessments were truncated to respondents of 18-24 years of age (n = 92,470). Since heterosexuals comprised over 90% of respondents, a random 5% subsample of heterosexuals was drawn, creating a total analytic sample of 11,046. Smoking status (i.e., never-, ever-, and current smoker) was regressed on general (e.g., not sexual orientation-specific) measures of past-year victimization and discrimination. To examine within-group differences, two sets of multivariate ordered logistic regression analyses were conducted: one set of models stratified by sexual orientation and another set stratified by gender-by-sexual-orientation groups.
Sexual minorities indicated more experiences of violence victimization and discrimination when compared with their heterosexual counterparts and had nearly twice the current smoking prevalence of heterosexuals. After adjusting for age and race, lesbians/gays who were in physical fights or were physically assaulted had higher proportional odds of being current smokers when compared with their lesbian/gay counterparts who did not experience those stressors.Conclusions:When possible, lesbian/gay and bisexual groups should be analyzed separately, as analyses revealed that bisexuals had a higher risk profile than lesbians/gays. Further research is needed with more nuanced measures of smoking (e.g., intensity), as well as examining if victimization may interact with smoking cessation
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