Mental health, potential minority stressors and resilience: evidence from a crosssectional survey of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men within the Celtic nations

Arlene McGarty*, Lisa McDaid, Paul Flowers, Julie Riddell, John Pachankis, Jamie Frankis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM) are at a greater risk of mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, than heterosexual adults. Numerous factors and stressors have been reported to impact men's mental health, although it has been suggested that resilience could have a protective effect. The aim of this study is to explore mental health, minority stressors, and resilience among a large online cross-sectional survey of GBMSM in the Celtic nations.

METHODS: Data for this cross-sectional study were collected from the Social Media, GBMSM and Sexual and Holistic Health (SMMASH2) self-report online survey. Participants (n = 3077) were recruited via gay sociosexual media in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland. Binary logistic regression analyses were conducted to identify factors that increased the odds of moderate-to-severe anxiety and depression. Potentially relevant variables (p < 0.05) were carried forward in hierarchal logistic regression analyses.

RESULTS: The prevalence of moderate-to-severe anxiety and depression was 19.9 and 14.4%, respectively. Having a disability (OR = 1.73) and having financial worries sometimes/all of the time (OR = 1.93) increased the odds of having moderate-to-severe depression and anxiety, respectively. No minority stressors were associated with depression, whereas experiencing any form of relationship abuse in the last 12 months significantly increased the odds of anxiety (OR = 1.50). Resilience, namely a sense of coherence, had a protective effect and significantly reduced the odds of moderate-to-severe depression (OR = 0.85) and anxiety (OR = 0.89).

CONCLUSIONS: Disability and financial worries were associated with increased depression and anxiety, respectively, while resilience had a protective effect for GBMSM in the SMMASH2 study. Future research is needed to better understand the role of resilience and the challenges and stresses of everyday life and intersecting health problems. Future research is also needed that incorporates the perspectives of those most affected by mental ill-health to co-develop effective solutions that respond to their contextual surroundings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2024
Number of pages15
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2021

Keywords

  • gay men
  • mental health
  • bisexual men
  • minority stress
  • psychological resilience
  • men who have sex with men
  • resilience
  • depression
  • anxiety

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