Negative Health Outcomes in Men Who Have Sex with Men of Color: An Investigation of Minority Stress and Protective Factors
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this study was to explore the intersection of multiple minority identities in men who have sex with men (MSM) of color, focusing on the relationship between experiences of minority stress and negative health outcomes. Specifically, this study aimed to identify how minority stress levels in MSM of color impact the following negative health outcomes: poor mental health, substance abuse, and risky sexual behavior. The role of ethnic identity belonging and religious practice as potentially moderating the relationship between minority stress and negative health outcomes was further explored. A cross-sectional online survey was utilized to test the research questions. The sample consisted of 152 participants who identified as racial/ethnic minorities and MSM between the ages of 18 and 29. Direct effects of minority stress reflected in self-reports of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (LGB) victimization, internalized homophobia, and perceived ethnic discrimination on negative health outcomes were tested using analysis software IBM SPSS. The findings revealed that greater minority stress was associated only with increased mental health problems. As hypothesized, evidence emerged that ethnic identity belonging moderated the relationship between minority stress and both mental health and substance use outcomes, suggesting that ethnic identity belonging may serve as a protective factor for MSM of color. Under conditions of high minority stress, MSM of color with greater engagement with formal religious practice were associated with the highest negative mental health outcomes, whereas lower degrees of religious practice predicted better mental health outcomes. This study identified MSM of color to be at risk for poor mental health and has highlighted the importance of ethnic identity belonging as a potential buffer against mental health and substance use issues. Further research is necessary to determine whether religiosity serves as a protective factor or risk factor for MSM of color. These findings will help researchers to better understand MSM of color and may have a potential impact on prevention and intervention efforts by identifying risk and protective factors that help to explain the aversive effects of minority stress.