The Effect of Minority Stress Processes on Smoking for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Individuals: A Systematic Review

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LGBT Health


Purpose: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals are more likely to smoke than non-LGBTQ individuals. Smoking has been posited as a coping mechanism for LGBTQ individuals facing minority stress. However, the exact relationship between minority stress and smoking behaviors among LGBTQ individuals is unclear. Therefore, the purpose of this systematic review was to examine how minority stress processes are associated with smoking behaviors for LGBTQ individuals. Methods: Searches of the PubMed and PsycINFO databases were conducted for smoking-, LGBTQ-, and minority stress-related terms. No date, geographic, or language limits were used. For inclusion, the study must have (1) been written in English, (2) had an LGBTQ group as the study population or a component of the study population, (3) assessed the cigarette smoking status of patients, and (4) assessed at least one minority stress-related process (internalized stigma, perceived stigma, or prejudice events). Results: The final review included 44 articles. Aside from two outlier studies, all of the reviewed studies exhibited that increased levels of minority stress processes (internalized queerphobia, perceived stigma, and prejudice events) were associated with increased probability of cigarette use in LGBTQ individuals. Increased minority stress was also associated with greater psychological distress/mental health decline. Conclusion: The findings of this review suggest that minority stress processes represent a contributing factor to smoking health disparities in LGBTQ populations. These results highlight the need for smoking cessation and prevention programs to address minority stress and improve smoking disparities in these populations.

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