Date of Award

Summer 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

de St. Aubin, Ed.

Second Advisor

Saunders, Stephen

Third Advisor

Magnus, Brooke


Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people are disproportionately affected by alcohol and substance use disorders (SUDs). Meyer (2003) and Hatzenbuehler (2009) extended minority stress theory to lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations and introduced stressors unique to these identities to explain general mental health disparities. However, no cohesive theory has emerged to explain the specific pathways that lead to alcohol use disorders (rather than internalizing syndromes such as anxiety and depression). This study, drawing on research published since Meyer (2003), preventative intervention research, motivational interviewing based interventions (MIBIs), and existing LGBTQ-tailored interventions fills this research gap and proposes a model to explain this pathway, as well as the necessary components of an intervention to disrupt the minority stress-alcohol use pathway. Based on this model, the Discussing Identity, Substance use, Coping, and Useful Strategies for Sexual/gender minorities (DISCUSS) intervention was developed and tested with a diverse sample of LGBTQ participants to investigate the efficacy, feasibility, acceptability, and appropriateness of the protocol. Initial evidence shows promise for the DISCUSS intervention in correcting distorted norms about alcohol use and reducing participants’ generalized distress. Qualitative and quantitative findings are presented to inform the next iteration of this program.

Included in

Psychology Commons