Lead author, Frank Pega, from the University of Otagoâs Department of Public Health and the Harvard School of Public Health, says that a minority of young people who are attracted to more than one gender binge drink.
However, binge drinking is higher in this social group than in other sexual minority and heterosexual young people.
âSexual minority communities, health practitioners, and policy makers have long wanted to tackle this issue, but too little information has been available.â he says.
The report is based on in-depth interviews with 32 participants aged18-25 years in eleven focus groups conducted this year in Auckland, Wellington, and Dunedin.
One of the most significant factors identified is the wide-ranging social exclusion experienced by bisexual young people, from not only heterosexual, but also lesbian and gay communities.
âMost study participants reported that they commonly experienced bi-phobia and discrimination, and some had been verbally harassed and physically abused for their sexual attraction. For many, these experiences resulted in a sense of being stigmatised, which caused daily stress and anxiety,â Pega says.
âWhile many participants were very resilient and responded positively, some participants binge drank to manage this stress.â
Pega says there is also a lack of targeted community spaces and organisations for young bi people, which provides an explanation for their higher rates of binge drinking.â
The report suggests more attention needs to be paid to reducing social stigma about bisexuality. Pega says it proposes three types of effective interventions to achieve this:
âFirstly, interventions that support community-building initiatives for more-than-one-gender attracted young people, to increase opportunities to meet, socialise and organise. Secondly, broad anti-stigma campaigns that increase societyâs understanding of this group of young people and how prejudices and bigotry negatively affect them.
âThe third type of intervention is social policies that ensure equal rights for sexual minorities. One example is the marriage equality legislation, currently before parliament. Going from US evidence, we can expect marriage equality and similar legislation to improve the health of sexual minority populations in general, including to reduce binge drinking.â
This report was produced for, and funded by the, Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand, now part of the governmentâs Health Promotion Agency (HPA).