US spends $1m researching drinking habits of lesbians

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has spent nearly US$1 million of taxpayers’ money on researching the drinking habits of lesbian couples to determine what causes them to drink.

Lovely lesbian couple celebrating with wine

The study has already cost the US taxpayer $911,056 and will continue until July 2019

The government grant, which has been awarded to Virginia’s Old Dominion University, will ask lesbian couples to fill out daily diaries detailing their drinking habits and noting down why they chose to drink at that time.

According to the leaders of the study, no-one has ever studied the drinking habits of lesbian couples, making it an area worthy of funding, as reported by The Washington Free Beacon.

“Despite this awareness, no studies have examined how relationship factors and partners’ alcohol use contribute to hazardous drinking among female sexual minority couples,” said the grant application put forward to NIH by researchers.

“Sexual minority women (i.e., women who self-identify as lesbian and bisexual) report more heavy drinking, more alcohol-related problems, and higher rates of alcohol use disorders as compared to heterosexual women. Young sexual minority women are particularly vulnerable”, it added.

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The research will be grounded in “Minority Stress Theory,” which blames discrimination and stigma for “negative mental health outcomes.”

The project will employ a “daily diary approach” where lesbians will discuss their alcohol consumption, relationship experiences, and “person-level factors,” such as “connection to the LGBT community” and “positive sexual identity.” One hundred fifty lesbians will be recruited for the study online.

“The present research will contribute to our understanding of the mechanisms by which sexual minority women’s romantic relationships and experiences of minority stress contribute to alcohol use,” said NIH. “In turn, this information can inform efforts to reduce sexual minority women’s health disparities and improve their health and well-being.”

The study has cost taxpayers $911,056, so far, and will continue through July 2019.

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