Missing data in substance abuse research? Researchers' reporting practices of sexual orientation and gender identity

Annesa Flentje, Cristina L. Bacca, Bryan N. Cochran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals are at higher risk for substance use and substance use disorders than heterosexual individuals and are more likely to seek substance use treatment, yet sexual orientation and gender identity are frequently not reported in the research literature. The purpose of this study was to identify if sexual orientation and gender identity are being reported in the recent substance use literature, and if this has changed over time. Method: The PsycINFO and PubMed databases were searched for articles released in 2007 and 2012 using the term "substance abuse" and 200 articles were randomly selected from each time period and database. Articles were coded for the presence or absence of sexual orientation and gender identity information. Results: Participants' sexual orientation was reported in 3.0% and 4.9% of the 2007 and 2.3% and 6.5% of the 2012 sample, in PsycINFO and PubMed sample articles, respectively, while non-binary gender identity was reported in 0% and 1.0% of the 2007 sample and 2.3% and 1.9% of the 2012 PsycINFO and PubMed sample articles. There were no differences in rates of reporting over time. Conclusions: Sexual orientation and gender identity are rarely reported in the substance abuse literature, and there has not been a change in reporting practices between 2007 and 2012. Recommendations for future investigators in reporting sexual orientation and gender identity are included.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-284
Number of pages5
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Volume147
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015

Keywords

  • Bisexual
  • Gay
  • Health disparities
  • Lesbian
  • Substance abuse
  • Transgender

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