Mental Health, Alcohol Use, and Substance Use Correlates of Sexism in a Sample of Gender-Diverse Sexual Minority Women

Jillian R. Scheer, Abigail W. Batchelder, Katie Wang, John E. Pachankis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Gender-based stressors (e.g., sexism) are rooted in hegemonic masculinity, a cultural practice that subordinates women and stems from patriarchal social structures and institutions. Sexism has been increasingly documented as a key driver of mental and behavioral health issues among women, yet prior research has largely focused on heterosexual women. The current study examined associations between sexism and mental health (i.e., psychological distress) and behavioral health (i.e., alcohol and drugrelated consequences) among sexual minority women (SMW). We also examined whether these associations might be more pronounced among SMW who identify as gender minorities (e.g., gender nonbinary, genderqueer) or are masculine-presenting compared to those who identify as cisgender women or are feminine-presenting. Participants included 60 SMW (ages 19–32; 55.0% queer, 43.3% gender minority, 41.7% racial and ethnic minority) who completed self-report measures of sexism, psychological distress, and alcohol and drug-related consequences. Results indicated that sexism was positively associated with psychological distress, alcohol-related consequences, and drug-related consequences, respectively. In addition, sexism was associated with worse mental and behavioral health outcomes among SMW who identify as gender minorities or are masculine-presenting compared to SMW who identify as cisgender or are feminine-presenting. Findings provide evidence that the health impact of gender-based stressors among SMW may differ based on whether SMW identify as gender minorities and based on the extent to which SMW violate traditional gender norms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-235
Number of pages14
JournalPsychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Gender identity
  • Gender presentation
  • Mental and behavioral health
  • Sexism
  • Sexual minority women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Psychology(all)

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