Minority stress, psychological distress, and alcohol misuse among sexual minority young adults: A resiliency-based conditional process analysis

Nicholas A. Livingston, Nathan Christianson, Bryan N. Cochran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background Sexual minority young adults experience elevated rates of distal stress (discrimination, victimization), and related psychological distress and alcohol misuse. However, few studies have examined the degree to which personality trait differences confer risk/resilience among sexual minority young adults. We hypothesized that psychological distress would mediate the relationship between distal stress and alcohol misuse, but that these relationships would be moderated by personality trait differences. Method Sexual minority young adults (N = 412) were recruited nationally. Survey measures included demographic questions, minority stressors, Five Factor personality traits, and current psychological distress and alcohol misuse symptoms. We used a data-driven two-stage cluster analytic technique to empirically derive personality trait profiles, and conducted mediation and moderated mediation analyses using a regression-based approach. Results Our results supported a two-group personality profile solution. Relative to at-risk individuals, those classified as adaptive scored lower on neuroticism, and higher on agreeableness, extraversion, conscientiousness, and openness to experience. As predicted, psychological distress mediated the relationship between distal stress and alcohol misuse. However, personality moderated these relationships to the degree that they did not exist among individuals classified as adaptive. Discussion In the current study, we found that personality moderated the established relationships between distal stress, psychological distress, and alcohol misuse among sexual minority young adults. Future research is needed to further explicate these relationships, and in order to develop tailored interventions for sexual minority young adults at risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-131
Number of pages7
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Volume63
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

Keywords

  • Alcohol use
  • Five-factor model
  • LGBT
  • Minority stress
  • Personality
  • Resilience

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