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At-School Victimization and Alcohol Use Among Minoritized U.S. Youth, 2009-2017.

Curry CW, Beach LB, Wang X, Ruprecht MM, Felt D, Floresca YB, Phillips II G.

American Journal of Preventive Medicine

Introduction: Sexual minority and/or racial/ethnic minority youth may use alcohol at school as a form of minority stress-based coping. Polyvictimization is particularly prevalent among sexual minority and/or racial/ethnic minority youth and may be a useful proxy measure for minority stressors.

Methods: Data from local administrations of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey were pooled across 42 jurisdiction years (biennially, 2009-2017) and analyzed in 2022, resulting in a sample of 118,052 U.S. youth. The prevalence of alcohol use at school was examined by sexual identity, race/ethnicity, and their intersections, stratified by sex. Multivariable logistic regression models were built to examine the disparities in alcohol use at school and the impact of school-based polyvictimization.

Results: At the intersections of race/ethnicity and sexual identity, 25 of 30 sexual minority and/or racial/ethnic minority subpopulations had greater odds of alcohol use at school than their White heterosexual same-sex peers. Hispanic/Latinx not-sure males (AOR=9.15; 95% CI=5.97, 14.03) and Hispanic/Latinx lesbian females (AOR=11.24; 95% CI=6.40, 19.77) were most likely to report alcohol use at school. After adjusting for polyvictimization, the magnitude of association was attenuated for most sexual minority and/or racial/ethnic minority subpopulations; however, all but 2 significant associations remained.

Conclusions: Sexual minority and/or racial/ethnic minority youth were more likely than White heterosexual peers to use alcohol at school, with the greatest odds among multiply marginalized and polyvictimized youth. Interventions should consider addressing more than school-based victimization alone because disparities persisted, although at a lower magnitude, after accounting for polyvictimization. Future longitudinal studies are warranted to further explore the associations between multiply marginalized identities, school-based polyvictimization, and alcohol use at school.

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