Online Program

Experience of bias-motivated bullying and psychosocial problems: Correlates of HIV risk behaviors in emerging and young adult men who have sex with men

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Michael Li, M.P.H., Division of Health Behavior Research, University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA
Anthony S. DiStefano, PhD, MPH, Department of Health Science, California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA
Background: Young men who have sex with men are highly vulnerable to bias-motivated bullying and concurrently present the most drastic increase in new HIV infections among all groups in the United States. Our study assessed whether experience of bias-motivated bullying was associated with behaviors that increase risk of HIV infection among emerging and young adult men who have sex with men (MSM aged 18-29). Methods: We utilized an Internet-based direct marketing approach to recruit a sample of 545 emerging and young adult MSM from across all 50 U.S. states to complete online questionnaires for the study. Multiple linear regression controlled for sociodemographics while testing the relationship between experience of bias-motivated bullying and engaging in HIV risk behaviors in the past 12 months. Analyses also tested psychosocial problems (depression, low self-esteem, and internalized homonegativity) for moderator effects on this relationship. Results: Experience of bullying during high school was predictive of unprotected anal intercourse, while bullying after high school was predictive of engaging in anal intercourse while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Lifetime harassment was associated with our composite measure of HIV risk behavior. None of the psychosocial problems examined in the study moderated any associations between experience of bias-motivated bullying and HIV risk behaviors. Conclusions: These findings present novel evidence that HIV risk behaviors are among the long-term consequences of bullying experience among emerging and young adult MSM, thus providing rationale for including anti-bullying and harassment policies as part of comprehensive approaches to HIV prevention in this population.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Program planning
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Assess the relationship between bias-motivated bullying and HIV risk behaviors in young men who have sex with men (YMSM). Identify the life stages and types of bullying experience associated with various behaviors known to increase risk of HIV infection in YMSM. Formulate an HIV risk behavior composite score based on per contact risk data.

Keyword(s): HIV/AIDS, Gay Men

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the principle investigator for this study on bias-motivated bullying and HIV risk behaviors in young men who have sex with men. This study was conducted for my thesis as a requirement for the Master of Public Health. My research interests include HIV prevention and care, sexual minority health, mental health, and quantitative methodologies.
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.

Back to: 5008.0: HIV and mental health