UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Increases in Alcohol and Cannabis Use Associated with Deteriorating Mental Health among LGBTQ2+ Adults in the Context of COVID-19 : A Repeated Cross-Sectional Study in Canada, 2020–2021 Goodyear, Trevor; Slemon, Allie; Richardson, Christopher G.; Gadermann, Anne; Salway, Travis; Dhari, Shivinder; Knight, Rod E.; Jenkins, Emily (Emily K.), 1981-


Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, other queer, and Two-Spirit (LGBTQ2+) people are particularly at risk for the psycho-social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, though population-tailored research within this context remains limited. This study examines the extent of, and associations between, increased alcohol and cannabis use and deteriorating mental health among LGBTQ2+ adults in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data are drawn from LGBTQ2+ respondents to a repeated, cross-sectional survey administered to adults living in Canada (May 2020–January 2021). Bivariate cross-tabulations and multivariable logistic regression models were utilized to examine associations between increased alcohol and cannabis use, and self-reported mental health, overall coping, and suicidal thoughts. Five-hundred and two LGBTQ2+ participants were included in this analysis. Of these, 24.5% reported increased alcohol use and 18.5% reported increased cannabis use due to the pandemic. In the adjusted analyses, increased alcohol use was associated with poor overall coping (OR = 2.28; 95% CI = 1.28–4.07) and worse self-reported mental health (OR = 1.98; 95% CI = 1.21–3.25), whereas increased cannabis use was associated with suicidal thoughts (OR = 2.30; 95% CI = 1.16–4.55). These findings underscore the need for population-tailored, integrated substance use and mental health supports to address interrelated increases in alcohol/cannabis use and worsening mental health among LGBTQ2+ adults, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

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