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Monday, January 7, 2013

Protective Behavioral Strategies as a Mediator of the Generalized Anxiety and Alcohol Use Relationship Among Lesbian and Bisexual Women

Alcohol use disorders and anxiety disorders often co-occur; moreover, lesbian and bisexual women appear at higher risk for both alcohol and anxiety disorders. Although research among college student samples has found direct effects of increased use of protective behavioral strategies on decreasing alcohol use and alcohol-related negative consequences, this has yet to be demonstrated among lesbian and bisexual women. Furthermore, it is unclear whether generalized anxiety influences the use of such strategies, which in turn predict alcohol consumption and related negative consequences. The primary objective of the present study was to examine the mediating role of protective behavioral strategies on the relationships between generalized anxiety and alcohol consumption and related negative consequences among a young adult sample of lesbian and bisexual women. 

A national sample of 1,083 lesbian and bisexual women between the ages of 18 and 25 years completed an online survey that assessed the constructs of interest. 

Results showed support for mediation such that lesbian and bisexual women who reported having higher levels of generalized anxiety were less likely to use drinking protective behavioral strategies, which in turn led to higher levels of alcohol consumption as well as negative alcohol-related consequences.

These findings highlight the importance of examining who is at risk for alcohol use disorders as well as why they are at risk. Results indicate that interventions for high-risk drinking among younger lesbian and bisexual women may need to specifically address factors such as affect management or coping with anxiety, at least for the proportion of women who are endorsing significant symptoms of anxiety. 

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