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Childhood Maltreatment, Bullying Victimization, and Psychological Distress Among Gay and Bisexual Men

5 December 2017
Karolanne O'Keefe

Publication Date
November 2017

Original Abstract
Sexual minority men report higher psychological distress than heterosexual men, including depression and anxiety. Research suggests that these health disparities may be due to the heightened stressors that gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals experience.

Some of these stressors occur early on in life, such as childhood abuse and bullying, and may include stressors that are topically related to sexual minority status, such as anti-gay bullying and teasing for gender nonconformity to masculine gender norms.

We tested a structural equation model on the association between negative childhood experiences and adult psychological distress among 304 gay and bisexual men. The model fit the data well, and demonstrated an indirect effect of negative childhood experiences on adult psychological distress via dysfunctional thoughts toward oneself. The results integrate the childhood abuse and anti-gay bullying victimization literatures by showing that both forms of adverse childhood experiences are associated with adult psychological distress.

The findings suggest the benefit of treatments to reduce negative, dysfunctional thoughts among gay and bisexual men who have experienced adverse childhood events.

Adam Hart, T., W. Noor, S., R.G. Vernon, J., Kidwai, A., Roberts, K., Myers, T. and Calzavara, L. (2017). Childhood maltreatment, bullying victimization, and psychological distress among gay and bisexual men. The Journal of Sex Research. DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2017.1401972.

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sex, sexuality, sexology, abuse, victimization, gay, bisexuality, men, distress, psychological


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