Longitudinal associations of relationship support and strain and internalized homophobia with mental health among middle-aged and older gay and bisexual men
Aging & mental health
Gay and bisexual men; close relationships; depression; homophobia; stigma
Mental health concerns (e.g. depression, anxiety) that negatively impact gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM) persist over the life course and into old age, but less is known about potential contributors to GBMSM's mental health. Close relationships can be a source of risk or resilience from stress, exerting direct relationships on mental health, and may mediate well-established associations between minority stress and mental health. This study examined whether primary partner relationship support and strain were uniquely associated with, and mediated the association between internalized homophobia, and mental health among older GBMSM. GBMSM ( = 517, age = 60) from the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study, who were in primary relationships with men, provided self-report data at four timepoints. We used multilevel modeling to examine longitudinal associations among relationship support and strain and internalized homophobia with depression and anxiety. Relationship strain, but not support, was positively associated with mental health concerns longitudinally. There was a significant, positive indirect effect of internalized homophobia on depression and anxiety through strain, but no support. Internalized homophobia was positively associated with relationship strain, which was positively associated with mental health symptoms longitudinally. Relationship strain was associated with depression and anxiety longitudinally among middle-aged and older GBMSM and mediated associations of internalized homophobia with mental health. The role of partner support warrants further investigation. Mental health interventions are critically needed for older GBMSM and, for partnered GBMSM, should include strategies for reducing relationship strain to foster well-being.
Perry, Nicholas; Goldenberg, Tamar; Huebner, David; Brown, Andre L.; Ware, Deanna; Meanley, Steven; Haberlen, Sabina; Brennan-Ing, Mark; Egan, James E.; Teplin, Linda; Ho, Ken; Detels, Roger; Friedman, M Reuel; and Plankey, Michael, "Longitudinal associations of relationship support and strain and internalized homophobia with mental health among middle-aged and older gay and bisexual men" (2022). GW Authored Works. Paper 1910.
Prevention and Community Health