Prevalence of alcohol use amongst sexual and gender minority (LGBTQ+) communities in the UK: a systematic scoping review.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Globally, alcohol use rates vary by sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), but UK government statistics on alcohol use in the LGBTQ+ population are missing.
Aim: This systematic scoping review determined the prevalence of alcohol use amongst gender and sexual minority people in the UK.
Methods: Empirical UK studies from 2010 onwards reporting the prevalence of alcohol use in SOGI compared to heterosexual/cisgender people were included. Searches in MEDLINE, Embase, Web of Science, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, Google Scholar, Google, charity websites and systematic reviews were conducted in October 2021, using SOGI, alcohol and prevalence terms. Citation checking was by two authors, with disagreements resolved through discussion. Data extraction was by one author (CM) and checked by another (LZ). Quality assessment was by study design, sample type, and statistical analysis of results. Narrative synthesis was qualitative combined with tabular presentation of results.
Results: Database and website searches found 6,607 potentially relevant citations and 505 full texts were reviewed with 20 studies included, found in 21 publications and grey literature reports. Most were on sexual orientation including twelve from large cohort studies. Harmful alcohol use is higher in LGBTQ+ people than heterosexual people in the UK, a result similar to that found in other countries. Qualitative data reflected alcohol’s role as emotional support. Fewer asexual people drank alcohol compared to allosexual people, and there was no evidence in intersex people.
Conclusion: Funded cohort studies and service providers should routinely collect SOGI data. Standardised reporting of SOGI and alcohol use would improve comparability across studies.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberagad029
Pages (from-to)346-356
Number of pages11
JournalAlcohol and Alcoholism
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was funded by the Drinkaware Trust, UK. The information and views set out in this journal article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Drinkaware Trust.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Medical Council on Alcohol and Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


  • Alcohol
  • Hazardous alcohol use
  • LGBT+
  • LGBTQ+
  • Sexual and gender minority
  • prevalence
  • UK
  • Health Inequalities


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