The Impact of Closeness to Non-Parental Adults in Social Networks on Substance Use among Young Men Who Have Sex with Men

Emma M. Sterrett-Hong, Michelle Birkett, Lisa Kuhns, Donghang Zhang, Brian Mustanski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Non-parental adults (NPAs), or adults in social networks other than parents and romantic/sexual partnersare an under-examined potential resource in the lives of young men who have sex with men (YMSM). Using survey and social network data from a sample (n = 169) of ethnically diverse YMSM in a Midwestern city, this article examines longitudinal associations between emotional closeness to NPAs and subsequent substance use among YMSM. After controlling for race/ethnicity, closer relationships with NPAs were associated with a lower likelihood of binge-drinking and marijuana use six months later. In an exploratory set of analyses, the level of connectedness between NPAs and other members of social networks was not associated with substance use. Future studies should continue to examine the protective role of NPAs for both substance use and other health behaviors among YMSM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020



  • alcohol use
  • emotional closeness
  • marijuana use
  • Non-parental adults
  • resilience
  • social networks
  • young men who have sex with men

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this