Alcohol abuse could be a red flag for sexual confusion among college students, suggests a new study correlating drinking problems with sexual orientation.
While students who identified themselves as either heterosexual or homosexual drank at roughly the same rate and for similar reasons -- for pleasure and in social situations -- respondents who said they didn't fit tidily into either category tended to report more alcohol misuse, said researchers from the University of Missouri.
Bisexuals and students who reported sexual confusion, or what researchers dubbed ‘flux,' were among the heaviest drinkers, admitting to uncontrolled drinking behavior to relieve anxiety and depression more so than their heterosexual or homosexual counterparts, the study, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, found.
More than 2,000 college students were asked to report their sexual orientation, attraction and sexual behavior, frequency of alcohol use, and reasons for drinking over the course of four years.
Students fell into different sexual groups that included minorities like 'mostly homosexual,' 'bisexual,' and 'mostly heterosexual.'
On a secondary note, the study also found that women were more open about admitting to same-sex attraction compared to men, who tended to be more rigid in their definitions.
Researchers say the findings could be used to help improve support programs for sexual minority groups.
Another study published last year found that young people who identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual are more likely to be bullied or be victims of sexual and physical abuse.