Effects of Social Support and Internalized Homophobia on the Association between Population Density and Mental Health among Gay and Bisexual Men
Methods: A nationally representative sample of 1,071 GBM was enrolled. Participants provided their zip codes, which were categorized according to population density and rank-normalized, and completed measures of internalized homophobia, social support, and depression.
Results: Lower normalized population density was associated with lower social support (p=.01) and greater internalized homophobia (p=.001). In a model adjusted for race/ethnicity, college education, age, and relationship status, lower population density was significantly associated with higher depression scores (B=-.90, p=.006). Lower social support (B=-2.89, p<.001) and greater internalized homophobia (B=3.53, p<.001) were significantly associated with greater depression scores and reduced the effect of population density on depression (B=-.36, p=.23). Sobel’s test of the indirect effect of population density on depression through social support (p=.007) and internalized homophobia (p=.01) were statistically significant, suggesting evidence for mediation of the effects.
Conclusion: These results indicate that living in less inhabited areas acts upon depression through several mechanisms for GBM, including lower social support and higher internalized homophobia. These findings suggest that community organizations and service providers in rural areas working with GBM with depression should focus on efforts to increase social support and reduce internalized homophobia.
Learning Areas:Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Describe the prevalence of depression in a U.S. national sample of gay and bisexual men living in urban vs rural settings. Discuss the roles of social support and internalized homophobia on depression among gay and bisexual men living in a rural and urban settings.
Keyword(s): Mental Health, Rural Health
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been conducting research in the field of HIV prevention for more than 14 years. I hold an MPH and am currently a Research Scientist at Hunter College's Center for HIV Educational Studies & Training (CHEST)
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.