Sexual minority disparities in psychosocial functioning following substance use recovery among a representative sample of US adults

Abigail W. Batchelder, M. Claire Greene, Jillian R. Scheer, Jacklyn Foley, Hyo Jin Jenny Shin, Kyrié M. Koehn, John F. Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Sexual minority (SM; e.g., gay, lesbian, bisexual) individuals are disproportionately impacted by alcohol and other drug (AOD) use disorders and psychosocial factors that can exacerbate AOD use disorders and hinder recovery. This study examines SM sub-group differences (monosexual [gay/lesbian] versus bisexual) regarding adaptation to recovery measured by indices of psychosocial functioning. Identifying differential needs of gay/lesbian versus bisexual individuals could improve services to better meet the needs of SM individuals in recovery. Methods: Using data from the National Recovery Study, a nationally representative cross-sectional sample of US adults who reported resolving an AOD problem (N = 2,002), we compared heterosexual to monosexual and bisexual SM individuals on socio-demographic characteristics, AOD use and treatment, and psychosocial variables. Results: Bisexual individuals were significantly younger than heterosexual individuals (p = .002 and p ≤ 0.001 among men and women, respectively) and reported significantly fewer years since AOD problem resolution compared to heterosexual individuals (p = .004 and p = .003 among men and women, respectively). Most notably, bisexual individuals, but not gay/lesbian individuals, reported significantly lower quality of life (QOL), happiness, self-esteem, and significantly higher distress compared to heterosexual individuals. Conclusion: Bisexual, but not monosexual, SM individuals in recovery from an AOD use disorder, were younger and reported worse psychosocial functioning than heterosexual individuals. Findings highlight significant differences between monosexual versus bisexual identified individuals with a notable disadvantage experienced by bisexual individuals. More needs to be learned about the challenges faced by bisexual individuals in recovery to better address their needs and support long-term AOD recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100527
JournalAddictive Behaviors Reports
StatePublished - Jun 2024


  • Addiction
  • Disparities
  • Mental health
  • Recovery
  • Sexual minorities
  • Substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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