Purpose Our aim was to examine mechanisms underlying the development of

Purpose Our aim was to examine mechanisms underlying the development of sexual health risk behaviors in sexual minority girls (SMGs) and the relation of these mechanisms and sexual risk behaviors to sexual victimization. the link between SMG status and self-reported sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Adding unwanted sexual experiences (UWSE) to the models resulted in reduction of significance in the direct or indirect effects from SMG status on the outcomes. UWSE emerged as a robust predictor directly and indirectly related to past year number of partners via growth in alcohol use. UWSE also AZD8055 directly predicted STD history. Conclusions The increased risk of RPS6KB1 SMGs for alcohol and marijuana during AZD8055 adolescence higher rates of sexual partners and STD diagnosis may also be linked to their significant risk for sexual victimization. Findings highlight the importance of preventive interventions targeting victimization of SMGs. (minority stress model) suggests that sexual minority youth experience increased internal conflict stemming from pressure to adhere to cultural norms of heterosexuality (10-13). This conflict is influenced by external (e.g. prejudice discrimination victimization) and internal experiences (e.g. an individual’s response to society’s negative views of homosexuality). Indeed the association between sexual minority status and increased depression symptomatology appears to be mediated by perceptions of discrimination against lesbian gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) males and females (14). Similarly victimization related to sexual-minority status mediates the relationship between sexual minority status and depressive symptoms and suicidality among youth (15). Other theories nonspecific to sexual minority youth posit that stress confers additional health risks. The ((19) purports that alcohol intoxication undermines the necessary cognitive capacity to weigh pros and cons of sexual risk behaviors. This partially explains how the use of substances confers a greater risk of involvement in risky sexual behavior and researchers have demonstrated a relationship between substance use and greater risky sexual behavior among young adult women (20). Despite a broad literature on substance use among sexual minority youth less is known about sexual victimization among SMGs. Mounting evidence suggests that SMGs are a subgroup within the LGBT population with significant physical and mental health risks (4 14 SMGs are more likely to have a history of intimate partner violence than heterosexual girls AZD8055 and women (21 22 High rates of sexual victimization are related to more risky sexual behaviors among SMGs (23). Further UWSEs can lead to frustration anger and depression. In line with the self-medication hypothesis SMGs with sexual victimization histories may exhibit increased risk for substance misuse a maladaptive coping strategy for emotional pain related to victimization (24 25 The relative risk imposed by UWSE in relation to SMGs status in adolescence is unknown. We use parallel growth modeling to test for the mediating role of change in alcohol versus cannabis use in the link between SMG status victimization and health risk. A parallel trajectory (growth curve) analysis captures individual and group change (26) and allows (a) to account for the lack of independence between alcohol and cannabis use (due to the common co-occurrence of these behaviors) and (b) the examination of the influence of the initial levels (severity) and the slope/s (deterioration or improvement) in alcohol versus cannabis use in explaining the impact of SMG status and victimization on subsequent health risk in late adolescence. First we examined whether SMGs were more frequently victimized by UWSE than a demographically comparable group of heterosexual girls. Second we modeled initial mean levels (intercepts) developmental trajectories (slopes) and the reciprocity of alcohol and marijuana consumption from adolescence to emerging adulthood AZD8055 among SMGs versus heterosexual girls. Modeling the growth of alcohol and cannabis use in parallel we tested whether growth patterns independently mediated the link between SMG status and sexual health risk (i.e. number of partners and STD history) prior to and after accounting for variance related to UWSE. We hypothesized that compared to heterosexual girls SMGs would: 1) have higher levels of UWSE 2 show higher initial levels (intercept) of substance use AZD8055 as well as follow steeper substance use trajectories over time compared to non-SMGs and 3) UWSE would serve as an additive risk factor for growth in alcohol and marijuana use and subsequent sexual risk behaviors. Participants Data were drawn from cohorts 15 (aged.