Doctoral Student University of Central Florida University of Central Florida Winter Park, Florida, United States
Background: For decades, the CDC has documented an increasing number of alcohol related deaths, emergency hospital visits, and hospitalizations associated with alcohol use. Some recent work has demonstrated that transgender and non-binary (TGNB) adults are at higher risk of substance use. Less is known, however, on TGNB adolescents.
Objective: This study expands on this body of literature by further investigating the effects of gender identity on alcohol use in a sample of TGNB adolescents. Our objective is to describe how TGNB status may be associated with patterns of alcohol use.
Design/Methods: Data are from the 2019 Minnesota Student Survey (MSS), a school-based, cross-sectional survey of youth collected every three years since 1989. In 2019, 81% (272/336) of school districts agreed to participate. The questions of interest were asked of 8th, 9th, and 11th grade students (response rate, 68%, 66%, and 54%, respectively); therefore, the analytic sample is limited to this group.
Results: A total of 1765 TGNB adolescents (635 trans males, 203 trans females, and 744 non-conforming) are included in this study. The average age was 14.86, and 73% were assigned biological sex as female at birth. We used multivariate linear regressions to test the combined effect of gender identity, race, age, SES, mental health history, victimization, adult household substance use, and social support on alcohol use. We found a statistically significant model (p <.001). Gender identity, victimization, and adult household substance use were significantly associated with alcohol use (all ps<.005). Increased victimization was positively associated with alcohol use, whereas adult household substance use had a negative relationship. Regarding gender identity, trans male adolescents and non-conforming adolescents, compared to trans female adolescents, were significantly less likely to report use alcohol (all ps<.005). Victimization was positively associated with alcohol use (p = .004), whereas adult household substance use was negatively associated (p <.004). Non-conforming minority adolescents reported the highest odds of binge drinking. Conclusion(s): This study evaluated the associations of gender identity with alcohol use and binge drinking in a sample of TGNC adolescents. Together, the evidence suggests that TGNC adolescents may benefit from therapies that target victimization feelings with social support from adults. The findings have important implications for designing alcohol interventions that target TGNC adolescents
Authors/Institutions: Bertha A. Ben Khallouq, University of Central Florida, Winter Park, Florida, United States