Mental health disorders in young urban sexual minority men

Michelle Nicole Burns*, Daniel T. Ryan, Robert Garofalo, Michael E. Newcomb, Brian Mustanski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose Very few studies have examined mental disorders among male sexual minority youth. We describe demographic correlates, comorbidity, and history of mental disorders and suicidality in a large sample of male sexual minority youth.

Methods Structured diagnostic interviews were conducted with 449 racially diverse urban sexual minority males, aged 16-20 years, who were recruited using a social network-driven sampling methodology.

Results Lifetime major depressive episode (MDE) affected 33.2% of the youth. Lifetime conduct disorder (23.6%), alcohol abuse/dependence (19.6%), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD; 16.0%), and nicotine dependence (10.7%) were also common. Black participants were less likely than white participants to be diagnosed with lifetime MDE, alcohol abuse/dependence, nicotine dependence, suicidal ideation, and anorexia, as well as past 12-month alcohol abuse/dependence (odds ratios [ORs] range from.08 to.46). Relative to participants identifying as gay, bisexual identified youth were at higher risk for lifetime PTSD (OR = 2.04), and participants who did not identify as gay or bisexual were at higher risk for both lifetime and past 12-month nicotine dependence (OR = 4.36 and 3.46, respectively). Most participants with mental disorders never received treatment, and comorbidity was common.

Conclusions MDE, conduct disorder, alcohol abuse/dependence, PTSD, and nicotine dependence are common and infrequently treated in young sexual minority men. Some within-group disparities emerged, suggesting that factors related to racial background and self-identification may help to understand resilience to the unique stressors experienced by these young men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-58
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Volume56
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Keywords

  • Adolescents, male
  • Age of onset
  • Comorbidity
  • Frequency
  • Homosexuality, male
  • Mental disorders
  • Minority health
  • Young adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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