This is perhaps not the biggest surprise in academic research, but it turns out that, according to a recent study by researchers at the University of Missouri, college students who are unclear about their sexual orientation drink more than those who aren’t.
According to a press release issued by the university:
In a new study, students whose sexual self-definition didn’t fall into exclusively heterosexual or homosexual categories tended to misuse alcohol more frequently than people who had a firmly defined sexual orientation for a particular gender, according to University of Missouri researchers. These findings could be used to improve support programs for sexual minorities.
“Exclusively homosexual and heterosexual persons drank at roughly the same rate and reported drinking to enhance enjoyment of social situations,” [author Amelia Talley, assistant professor of psychological sciences] said. “The other sexual minority groups tended to report more alcohol misuse. This suggests that it may be the stressful process of developing one’s sexual identity that contributes to problematic drinking, just as people in any difficult situation in life may turn to alcohol to alleviate stress.”
Well, maybe. But the study didn’t seem to indicate whether or not the drinking went down once the students figured out their sexual orientation.