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Effects of Minority Stress Processes on the Mental Health of Latino Men Who Have Sex with Men and Women: A Qualitative Study


Emerging literature on minority stress among sexual minority populations has described the negative consequences that multiple minority statuses may exert on mental health and well-being. This literature has tended to focus on individuals whose self-identifications reflect sexual minority sexual categories, such as gay or bisexual, and has explored the intersection of these definitions with ethnic, racial, and class statuses. Few such studies have explored mental health among men who actively deny a sexual minority sexual identity label while engaging in same-sex sexual behaviors. The present study used ethnographic interview data from 20 non-gay-identified bisexually behaving Dominican and Puerto Rican men in New York City. Participants described discovery of same sex sexual behavior as a threat to their intimate relationships, community affiliation, and counter to expectations of Latino masculinity. Recounting a wide range of information management strategies used to avoid open disclosure about their sexual lives, participants experienced the potential consequences of disclosure as extreme and even life threatening. Men anticipated social isolation, depression, self-injury, and suicidality as possible outcomes from disclosing sexual behavior with other men to their female romantic partners. This analysis provides direction for future research on minority stress processes and mental health service delivery among Latino men who have sex with men and women.

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