UC Santa Barbara
Behavioral Risk in Bisexual Youth: Comparing First- and Second-order Latent Class Typologies
- Author(s): Choi, Andrew Young
- Advisor(s): Israel, Tania
- et al.
Bisexuals experience a range of mental and behavioral health disparities compared to monosexuals, yet they are understudied and underserved. Bisexual health disparities may be characterized by a syndemic—interconnected and co-occurring risks in the context of stigma that jointly exacerbate the burden of disease—that emerges with a developmental onset in adolescence. In this project, I used a nationally-derived sample of bisexual youth and latent class modeling to investigate patterns of syndemic processes in this population. I examined the heterogeneity in the patterns of co-occurrence among three domains of high priority risk behaviors: sexual risk behavior, substance use, and victimization experiences. Findings indicated that within-group variation in the syndemic construct is categorical, systematic, and is comprised of Low Risk, Alcohol Use, Peer-victimization, Sexually Active, Syndemic, and Risk-taking classes. The proportions of bisexual identification, sex, and race varied across classes. Class membership was differentially associated with suicidality where the Syndemic and Peer-victimization classes were particularly elevated. These results reveal that there are multiple and distinctive forms of behavioral risk that confer differential health implications among bisexual youth; illustrate the utility of LCA for classifying typologies of risky and normative health behavior patterns; and encourage researchers and practitioners to carefully consider the jointly operating nature of behavioral risks in this population. Future directions include conducting replication and multiple-group invariance studies, examining additional antecedents and consequences of class membership, and investigating the plausibility of other mixture techniques to model complex syndemic processes among bisexuals and sexual minorities more broadly.