Lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals (“sexual minorities” [SMs]) are overrepresented among individuals suffering from alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems. However, little is known regarding differences, particularly in functioning and well-being, between SMs and heterosexuals in recovery from AOD problems.
Cross-sectional, nationally representative sample of US adults who resolved an AOD problem (N = 2002; National Recovery Study [Kelly et al., 2017]). Univariate analyses tested for differences between SMs and heterosexuals on socio-demographic, AOD use/treatment and clinical/legal factors. Unadjusted regressions tested for group differences on indices of current functioning and well-being. Multivariable regressions investigated factors that differentiated groups to understand which might explain any observed group disparities in functioning and well-being. LOWESS analyses explored differences across time in recovery on functioning/well-being.
Prevalence of SMs in the US recovery population was 11.7% (n = 220). Compared with heterosexuals (88.3%, n = 1666), SMs had shorter time in recovery (OR=0.97; 95% CI: 0.96, 0.99); were less likely to be employed (OR=0.64; 95% CI: 0.43, 0.96); and more likely to have a co-occurring psychiatric disorder (OR=2.24; 95% CI: 1.49, 3.37), an arrest history (OR=1.61; 95% CI: 1.08, 2.39), and report opioids as primary substance (OR=2.50; 95% CI: 1.18, 5.28). Unadjusted models showed, compared to heterosexuals, SMs had significantly worse levels on all functioning and well-being outcomes. Adjusted models explained most differences, except for psychological distress.
SMs evince more problematic clinical/legal histories and face greater psychosocial challenges in recovery. Research is needed to understand the unique experiences of recovering SMs in order to better address observed functioning and well-being disparities.

Copyright © 2022 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.