Associations between sexual identity-attraction discordance, and prescription opioid misuse among adults

Fares Qeadan, William A. Barbeau, Lingpeng Shan, Sunday Azagba

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Prior research has shown that sexual minorities are disproportionately affected by substance use disorders and prescription opioid misuse. While most studies explore how single dimensions of sexual orientation (i.e., identity, attraction, and behavior) are associated with substance use disorders, we aimed to explore how multiple dimensions of sexual orientation interact with substance use behaviors. Specifically, we examined sexual identity-attraction discordance, the situation when one's sexual identity does not match their socially-expected sexual attractions, with prescription opioid misuse. This study assessed the association between sexual identity-attraction discordance with prescription opioid misuse utilizing data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2015 to 2017 among adults while employing propensity score weighting with multivariable logistic regression. The study included 127,430 adult participants, of whom 1.3%, 4.4%, and 10.6% self-reported prescription opioid misuse in the past month, past year, and lifetime, respectively. Those with discordant sexual identity-attractions had higher odds of prescription opioid misuse in their lifetime (aOR= 1.22, 95% CI 1.07–1.40) when compared to those with concordant sexual identity-attractions. When stratified by sex, we found sexual identity-attraction discordant females had higher odds of prescription opioid misuse in their lifetime (aOR= 1.29, 95% CI 1.13–1.49); there was no association among males. These findings further emphasize the need to consider the dynamic nature of sexual orientation in substance use research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106401
JournalPreventive Medicine
StatePublished - Apr 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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