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AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2011 Aug;25 Suppl 1:S39-45. doi: 10.1089/apc.2011.9877. Epub 2011 Jun 20.

Racial and sexual identity-related maltreatment among minority YMSM: prevalence, perceptions, and the association with emotional distress.

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  • 1University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.


Bullying is a form of violence characterized as an aggressive behavior that is unprovoked and intended to cause harm. Prior studies have found that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth experience high levels of bullying related to their sexuality and this harassment can lead to engagement in risk behaviors, depression, and suicide. Ethnic/racial minority young men who have sex with men (YMSM) may experience dual levels of stigma and maltreatment due to both their sexuality and their race. The aim of the current study was to assess the prevalence and perceptions of racial and sexual identity-based abuse among a sample of minority YMSM, and whether this maltreatment plays a role in the emotional distress of these youth. We found that overall 36% and 85% of participants experienced racial and sexuality-related bullying, respectively. There was a significant association between experiencing a high level of sexuality-related bullying and depressive symptomatology (p=0.03), having attempted suicide (p=0.03), and reporting parental abuse (p=0.05). We found no association between racial bullying and suicide attempts. In a multivariable logistic regression model, experiencing any racial bullying and high sexuality-related bullying were significant predictors of having a CES-D score ≥16; adjusted odds ratio (OR) 1.83 and 2.29, respectively. These findings contribute to the existing literature regarding the negative experiences and daily stressors facing LGBT youth with regard to both their minority status and LGBT identities. Future interventions for racial/ethnic minority YMSM should provide assistance to achieve a positive view of self that encompasses both their racial and sexual identities.

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