Alcohol interventions for LGBTQ+ adults: a systematic review

Elena D. Dimova, Lawrie Elliott, Jamie Frankis, Laurie Drabble, Stacey Wiencierz, Carol Emslie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gender and sexual minority populations are more likely to drink excessively compared to heterosexual and cisgender people. Existing reviews of alcohol interventions focus on specific subgroups within the LGBTQ+ population and neither identify their theoretical basis nor examine how interventions are tailored to meet the needs of specific subgroups.

This systematic review includes published studies reporting the effectiveness of interventions to reduce alcohol use in LGBTQ+ people. The review followed PRISMA guidelines. Quality was assessed using the EPHPP Quality Assessment Tool.

The review includes 25 studies, with the earliest published in 2005. The majority (n=20) focused on men who have sex with men; only two included sexual minority women and three included trans* people. Most studies were conducted in the USA (n=21) and used a randomised design (n=15). Five studies were assessed to be of strong quality, 7 moderate and 13 weak. Interventions were mainly delivered face-to-face (n=21). The most common approaches used to inform interventions were Motivational Interviewing (n=8) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (n=8). Nineteen studies reported a significant reduction in alcohol consumption.

This review suggests that for interventions to be effective in reducing alcohol consumption in LGBTQ+ people, they need to be informed by theory and adapted for the target population. Alcohol interventions which focus on sexual minority women, trans* people and people with other gender identities are needed. The findings have implications for professionals who need to identify when gender and/or sexuality are peripheral or central to alcohol use.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
Early online date1 Aug 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Aug 2021


  • alcohol
  • gender
  • interventions
  • public health
  • sexuality


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