Newswise — Although college can be demanding for young adults, it may be particularly so for transgender students struggling with identity-formation and other emotional, social, and developmental challenges. Prior research suggests that transgender students may experience greater drinking and negative alcohol-related consequences than their cisgender peers (i.e., those whose gender matches their sex at birth). This study examined levels of drinking, frequency of blackouts and other alcohol-related consequences, and drinking motivations among transgender college students.

Researchers used a website survey to assess student demographics and drinking-related behaviors, experiences, and motivations of first-year college students. The students self-reported several alcohol-related measures during the preceding 14 days: number of drinking days, total number of drinks, and maximum number of drinks on any single day. Alcohol-related consequences (including blackouts) as well as drinking motivations were evaluated and compared between transgender students of both sexes and their cisgender peers.

First-year transgender students engaged in higher-risk drinking patterns and also experienced more alcohol-related blackouts and other negative consequences than first-year cisgender students. Transgender respondents more often cited stress reduction, social anxiety, self-esteem issues, and the inherent properties of alcohol as motivations for drinking. For nearly all measures, more extreme results were found among male-to-female than female-to-male transgender students.

Journal Link: Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research