Sexual identity differences in high-intensity binge drinking: Findings from a US national sample

Jessica N. Fish, Tonda L. Hughes, Stephen T Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


Aim: To estimate sexual identity differences in high-intensity binge drinking. Design and setting: Cross-sectional US adult health survey from 2014 and 2015. Participants: US adults aged 18 and older (n = 215684; n = 203562 heterosexual, n = 2784 lesbian/gay, n = 2892 bisexual, n = 686 'other' and n = 1947 don't know/unsure). Measurements: Self-reported past 30-day standard binge and high-intensity binge drinking. Standard binge drinking cut-off values were 4+/5+ drinks for women and men, respectively. High-intensity binge drinking was measured as two and three times the standard level (8+ and 12+ drinks for women and 10+ and 15+ drinks for men). Findings: Lesbian and bisexual women were more likely than heterosexual women to report consuming 4+ drinks (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] =1.57, confidence interval [CI] = 1.18, 2.09 and aOR = 1.83, CI = 1.45, 2.30 for lesbian and bisexual women, respectively); 8+ drinks (aOR = 3.86, CI = 2.39, 6.24, aOR = 2.07, CI = 1.39, 3.07); and 12+ drinks (aOR = 3.81, CI = 1.77, 8.19, aOR = 2.54, CI = 1.25, 5.14) on a single occasion in the past 30 days. Generally, gay and bisexual men were no more likely than heterosexual men to report standard or high-intensity binge drinking. However, bisexual men were more likely than heterosexual men to consume 15+ drinks (aOR = 1.76, 95% CI = 1.01, 3.06). Rates of standard and high-intensity binge drinking were similar between heterosexual and unsure men and women. Men and women who indicated 'other' sexual identities were generally less likely than heterosexuals to report standard and high-intensity binge drinking, with the exception of 4+ drinks for women and 10+ drinks for men. Conclusions: In the United States, sexual minority women are more likely, and sexual minority men are equally likely, to drink at standard and high-intensity binge drinking levels as their heterosexual counterparts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2017
Externally publishedYes



  • Alcohol
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey
  • Health disparities
  • Heavy episodic drinking
  • High-intensity binge drinking
  • LGB
  • Sexual identity
  • Sexual minorities
  • Sexual minority

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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