Mediation by Peer Violence Victimization of Sexual Orientation Disparities in Cancer-Related Tobacco, Alcohol, and Sexual Risk Behaviors: Pooled Youth Risk Behavior Surveys

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Abstract

Objectives

We examined the role of adolescent peer violence victimization (PVV) in sexual orientation disparities in cancer-related tobacco, alcohol, and sexual risk behaviors.

Methods

We pooled data from the 2005 and 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Surveys. We classified youths with any same-sex sexual attraction, partners, or identity as sexual minority and the remainder as heterosexual. We had 4 indicators of tobacco and alcohol use and 4 of sexual risk and 2 PVV factors: victimization at school and carrying weapons. We stratified associations by gender and race/ethnicity.

Results

PVV was related to disparities in cancer-related risk behaviors of substance use and sexual risk, with odds ratios (ORs) of 1.3 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.03, 1.6) to 11.3 (95% CI = 6.2, 20.8), and to being a sexual minority, with ORs of 1.4 (95% CI = 1.1, 1.9) to 5.6 (95% CI = 3.5, 8.9). PVV mediated sexual orientation disparities in substance use and sexual risk behaviors. Findings were pronounced for adolescent girls and Asian/Pacific Islanders.

Conclusions

Interventions are needed to reduce PVV in schools as a way to reduce sexual orientation disparities in cancer risk across the life span.

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