Dyadic Moderators of the Minority Stress-HIV Risk Association in Male Couples

Madison Shea Smith, Elissa L. Sarno, Cole Price, Afiya Sajwani, Brian Mustanski*, Michael E. Newcomb

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Minority stressors have been linked to HIV risk behaviors among gay, bisexual, queer, and other men who have sex with men (MSM). Committed partnerships are a key context for new HIV infections and coping with minority stress among MSM, but very little work has tested the minority stress-HIV risk link among male couples, and little is known about how processes within one’s relationship may exacerbate or buffer this association. The present study examined links between minority stress (i.e., internalized stigma, microaggressions) and HIV transmission risk behaviors (i.e., condomless anal sex with outside partners, breaks in relationship agreements) among male couples, as well as relationship-based moderators (i.e., social support, dyadic coping) of these associations. An analytic sample of male couples from a large cohort study (analytic N = 410 individuals, 205 dyads) completed self-report measures of minority stress, relationship-based moderators, and HIV transmission risk behaviors which were submitted to moderated actor-partner interdependence models (APIMs). In many cases, coping with stress with one’s partner buffered the minority stress-HIV transmission link risk. However, findings also suggested situations in which partners may overburden one another with coping, thus exacerbating HIV-related risk behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2023-2033
Number of pages11
JournalAIDS and behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2024


  • Coping
  • HIV
  • MSM
  • Male couples
  • Minority stress
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Social Psychology


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