Alcohol Use, Age, and Self-Rated Mental and Physical Health in a Community Sample of Lesbian and Bisexual Women

Cindy B. Veldhuis, Amelia E. Talley, David W. Hancock, Sharon C. Wilsnack, Tonda L. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Purpose: Given that self-perceptions of mental and physical health are important predictors of health outcomes and well-being, particularly among older adults, this study focuses on associations among age, alcohol consumption, and indicators of both self-rated mental health and self-rated physical health in a sample of sexual minority women (SMW). Methods: This study uses a community sample of SMW to examine the associations among age, drinking, and self-rated mental and physical health. Results: Heavy drinking among older adult SMW (55+) was less prevalent than among young SMW, ages 18-25 and ages 26-39, but similar to rates reported among SMW ages 40-54. In addition, older SMW reported significantly higher levels of self-rated mental health, compared with SMW in the other age groups, but we found no significant associations between age and self-rated physical health. Across all age groups, moderate drinkers reported better self-rated physical health than alcohol abstainers. Conclusions: Overall, these results suggest that, among SMW, drinking does not decline as sharply with age as it does for heterosexual women in the general population. Given the current and projected increases in the aging population and the risks that heavy drinking presents for morbidity and mortality, interventions aimed at older SMW are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-426
Number of pages8
JournalLGBT Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2017


  • aging
  • bisexual women
  • lesbian women
  • mental health
  • physical health
  • substance use/abuse


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