241638 Community Based Research in "Hidden" Communities: Understanding Individual and Social Health Concerns among Bisexual Men

Monday, October 31, 2011: 12:50 PM

Brian Dodge, PhD , Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Phillip Schnarrs, MA , Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Michael Reece, PhD , Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Omar Martinez, MPH , Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
David Malebranche, MD, MPH , Division of General Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Gabriel Goncalves, BS , Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Barbara Van Der Pol, PhD, MPH , Division of Infectious Diseases, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN
Ryan Nix, BA , Step Up, Inc., Indianapolis, IN
J. Dennis Fortenberry, MD, MS , Department of Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN
Introduction: Research has not yet explored the potential impact of social stress, biphobia (stigma, prejudice and discrimination from both heterosexual and homosexual individuals and communities) and other factors on the health of bisexual men. Given the clear linkages with HIV risk behavior, this research aimed to explore individual and social health issues among bisexual men in an understudied and underserved community in the Midwestern United States. Methods: Using a community-based participatory research approach, in-depth interviews were conducted with a diverse sample of 75 behaviorally bisexual men. Interviewers explored potential health stressors and supports, including the potential role of community involvement. Text data were coded and organized using N-Vivo software. Results: Many participants reported personal and social challenges associated with bisexuality, which in turn influenced their mental health, in particular. Reported instances of stigma toward bisexuality, from both homosexual and heterosexual individuals, impacted participants' feelings toward their own sexualities. Participants' sexual identities, and disclosure of their sexual identities, varied depending on context. Most participants reported feeling socially isolated due to the lack of a sense of belonging in any community. A lack of bisexual spaces and a visible bisexual community was reported by all participants. Discussion: Programs are greatly needed that focus on the specific mental health and other concerns voiced by these men. Based on our study findings, such programs should emphasize self-acceptance, social network and community building, and ways to maximize available social support, similar to community-level empowerment interventions that have shown success among gay-identified men.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Upon completion of attending this session, participants will: 1. Describe how bisexual men are at risk for mental and other health concerns due to a number of individual and social factors related to being bisexual (as separate and distinct from heterosexual and homosexual);

Keywords: Bisexual, Community Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Principal Investigator of this study and the program chair of the APHA HIV/AIDS section.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.