Stigma and help-seeking: The interplay of substance use and gender and sexual minority identity
Problematic substance use is a global public health concern. However, despite high rates of substance use (SU) and related consequences, rates of treatment seeking remain low. Furthermore, individuals who identify as a gender/sexual minority (GSM) have both increased rates of problematic use and less mental health treatment utilization. Society has stigmatized both SU and GSM identity and created marginalized communities. Individuals who identify with both groups are uniquely situated in that they experience stigma related to both their SU (SU stigma) and their GSM identity (GSM stigma). The objective of this study was to examine how identifying with these stigmatized groups may influence help-seeking behavior for SU treatment. Participants were N = 171 individuals with a history of problematic SU recruited on a national scale, including N = 67 identifying as GSM. Results from multiple and logistic regression found main effects for SU stigma, such that, more anticipated SU stigma predicted more help-seeking intentions (β = 0.25, p = .04), and, controlling for SU severity, more enacted SU stigma was associated with a higher likelihood of having sought help in the past (Expβ = 4.18, p = .001). However, while we found a main effect for GSM stigma of the same direction when predicting intentions to seek help (β = 0.28, p = .02), GSM stigma was not associated with past help-seeking behavior. Lastly, the interaction between SU stigma and GSM stigma was not significant. Clinical implications are discussed, as well as future directions for subsequent research.
Benz, Madeline B.; Palm Reed, Kathleen; and Bishop, Lia S., "Stigma and help-seeking: The interplay of substance use and gender and sexual minority identity" (2019). Psychology. 579.