Sexual Minority Relationships Buffer Against Minority Stress And Substance Use



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Sexual minorities experience unique stressors known as minority stress: the additional stress members of stigmatized groups experience solely because of their minority group membership. Added stress usually comes in the form of discrimination, from refusal of service and employment discrimination to hate crimes. Sexual minorities potentially respond to this discrimination by protecting themselves through concealing their identity. Concealment is likely to be detrimental to people’s self-regulation and health behaviors, which can put sexual minorities at higher risk of substance use. However, sexual minorities in relationships could be at lower risk than those not in relationships because of the support from a partner. The current study used an experimental analog to examine the hypothesis that concealing one’s sexual identity leads to self-control depletion and increases alcohol and cannabis abuse. The final sample was comprised of 238 MTurk workers. There were no effects of condition on self-control depletion or the alcohol purchasing task indices. Concealment condition had a significant effect on the relative value of both cannabis and gasoline, but there were no effects of partner salience condition. The discussion focuses on the implications of identity concealment on substance use.



sexual minorities, concealment, substance use, self-control depletion, intimate relationships