METHODS: A national sample of 1,725 sexual minority women participated in an online survey in 2017 through the PRIDE Study. Respondents self-reported demographics, levels of alcohol use, suppression, and social support, and number of depression and alcohol use symptoms. Multiple regression was utilized to determine if depression, suppression, and social support moderated the relationship between alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems for sexual minority women, controlling for demographic characteristics.
RESULTS: As hypothesized, greater levels of depression were found to strengthen the relationship between amount of alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems (β = 0.023; p < 0.01), whereas greater levels of social support were found to weaken the relationship (β = -0.029; p < 0.01). No support was found for greater levels of suppression strengthening the relationship between alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Higher levels of depression were associated with more severe alcohol-related problems at the same level of alcohol consumption, and higher levels of social support were associated with less severe alcohol-related problems at the same level of alcohol consumption for sexual minority women. Though clinical efforts to reduce alcohol-related problems have primarily focused on reducing levels of alcohol consumption, these findings suggest that treating depression and fostering social support among sexual minority women may also help to reduce alcohol-related problems among this population. These additional treatment targets may be particularly valuable for supporting sexual minority women who are presently unwilling or unable to modify their levels of alcohol consumption. Future research should focus on developing and evaluating interventions that target depression and social support in service of reducing alcohol-related problems for this vulnerable population.