Minority Stress Experiences and Psychological Well-Being: The Impact of Support from and Connection to Social Networks Within the Los Angeles House and Ball Communities.

By Carolyn F. Wong, Sheree M. Schrager, Ian W. Holloway, Ilan H. Meyer, Michele D. Kipke
August 2013

African American young men who have sex with men (AAYMSM) from the House and Ball communities are at high risk for HIV infection. Because these communities are not only sources of risk but also support for AAYMSM, researchers must also consider the resources these communities possess. This knowledge will assist in the formulation of more effective prevention strategies and intervention approaches. Using minority stress theory as a framework, the current study illustrates the impact minority stress has on the psychological well-being of a sample of MSM from the Los Angeles House and Ball communities and investigates how these factors affect the relationship between minority stress and psychological well-being. Surveys were administered to participants over the course of a year. Structural equation modeling was used to estimate a model of the associations between minority stressors, support, connection to social network, and psychological well-being/distress (Nā€‰=ā€‰233). The results indicated significant associations between different sources of minority stress, including distal minority stress (e.g., racism, homophobia), gay identification, and internalized homophobia. Minority stressors were in turn significantly associated with greater distress. However, greater instrumental support significantly reduced the effects of distal minority stress on distress. Greater connection to social network also significantly reduced stress associated with gay identification on distress. The findings captured the diverse sources of minority stress faced by this population and how these stressors are interrelated to impact mental health. The results also illustrate how support from and connection to social networks can reduce the negative impact of minority stress experiences.

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*Originally published in Prevention Science.