by: Sophia Marano
When examining intimate partner abuse, many researchers fail to study the patterns and types of abuse in same-sex male couples. In turn, the psychosocial characteristics and health problems of gay and bisexual men who experience such abuse have often been neglected in research. In the correlational study, “Intimate Partner Abuse among Gay and Bisexual Men: Risk Correlates and Health Outcomes,” Houston and McKirnan examined the effect of psychological and demographic factors generally associated with intimate partner abuse. They also examined intimate partner abuse’s relationship to various health problems such as depression, substance abuse, and sexually transmitted diseases.
Unlike many previous studies regarding intimate partner abuse, Houston and McKirnan specifically focused on gay and bisexual men. In their study, participants filled out an anonymous survey that consisted of questions about health-related attitudes and behaviors, drug and alcohol use, and sexual practices. Findings concluded that 32.4% of the total sample reported experiencing intimate partner abuse in either a current or past relationship and that most abuse victims experienced more than one form of abuse. Additionally, Houston and McKirnan examined the relation of abuse with key health behaviors. Findings showed that abused men were more likely to report monthly or more frequent alcohol intoxication, problems caused by substance use, and frequent use of substances before or during sex. It was also proven that abuse correlates with unprotected anal intercourse. Findings showed that abused men were not only more likely to report unprotected sex in the previous 6 months but were also more likely to report a recent STI. Lastly, Houston and McKirnan found a relationship between intimate partner abuse and both physiological and psychological risk factors. Based on the findings, abused men were more likely to report at least one health problem or diagnosis and significantly more depressive symptoms than non-abused men.
Based on this research, we can undoubtedly declare that intimate partner abuse is a major factor in a range of health problems. It is crucial, however, to highlight how these intimate partner abuse challenges among gay and bisexual men do not receive the same attention as heterosexual couples. Regardless of the fact that gay and bisexual men face partner abuse at similar or higher rates than heterosexual couples, many researchers and health providers fail to meet the needs of abused men. It is not only imperative that healthcare providers are appropriately trained to assess abuse in these populations, but also for strategies to be implemented that bring these men out of danger and thus, improve their overall health outcomes.
Houston, E., & McKirnan, D. J. (2007, September). Intimate partner abuse among gay and bisexual men: Risk correlates and health outcomes. Journal of urban health : bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine. Retrieved November 2, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2231846/