This study examined whether students’ odds of recent substance use were lower in the presence of GSAs or explicit anti-homophobia policy that had been established at their school recently, or at least three years prior.
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 GSAs and policies on substance use outcomes for LGB and heterosexual students separately.
Results indicated that GSAs 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, for LGB adolescents, but these were predominantly among girls, and almost exclusively in schools where the policies or GSAs had been established for at least three years.
Our findings suggest that these school-based strategies (GSAs 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.
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