COVID-Related Mental Health and Smoking in Sexual Minority Women




Sexual minority women face a range of health disparities, including high rates of mental health issues, alcohol and tobacco use, obesity, stroke, and general poorer health compared to heterosexual women.  The minority stress model describes how members of a minority group, including sexual minorities, face unique stressors related to a stigmatized social status. Research has shown that sexual minorities who face increased discrimination, as described in the minority stress model, tend to have increased smoking rates. The present study sought to examine how increased mental health-related stress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the smoking behaviors of sexual minority women. Data from the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health were used to build OLS regression and mediation models determining how female sexual minority status moderated the relation between COVID-19-related impacts on mental health and smoking. Results found that sexual minority women with the highest levels of negative impacts on mental health as a result of COVID-19 smoked the fewest cigarettes as compared to heterosexual women. The finding that high levels of mental health distress are related to a reduction in smoking among sexual minority women warrants further research to examine if this effect is COVID-19-specific, or a more generalized pattern of stress and mental health impacts on smoking behavior.


COVID-19, sexual minorities, heterosexual


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How to Cite

Branstetter, S. A. (2023). COVID-Related Mental Health and Smoking in Sexual Minority Women. Advanced Journal of Social Science, 12(1), 53–58.