Objective: This study examined whether students’ odds of recent substance use were lower in the presence of gay-straight alliances or explicit anti-homophobia policy that had been established at their school recently, or at least 3 years prior.
Methods: We analyzed a population-based sample of students in grades 8 through 12 from the British Columbia Adolescent Health Survey of 2008 (weighted N = 21,708). We used multi-nomial logistic regressions to test the hypothesized effects of gay-straight alliances and policies on substance use outcomes for lesbian, gay and bisexual students, and heterosexual students separately.
Results: Results indicated that gay-straight alliances and anti-homophobic bullying policies were linked to significantly lower odds of some but not all types of recent risky alcohol use, and past-year harms from alcohol or drug use, but almost exclusively in schools where the policies or gay-straight alliances had been established for at least 3 years; and among lesbian, gay and bisexual adolescents, only for girls.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that these school-based strategies (gay-straight alliances and anti-homophobia policies) to reduce homophobia and foster school inclusion may be beneficial in reducing problem alcohol use among all students, not just sexual minority students.
Konishi C., Saewyc E, Homma Y, & Poon C. (2013). Population-level evaluation of school-based interventions to prevent problem substance use among gay, lesbian and bisexual adolescents in Canada. Preventive Medicine. Doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2013.06.031.