Involvement in gay men's community has both advantages and disadvantages. Gay men's communities have historically been sites of strong cohesiveness and political action. Conversely, these communities also have high rates of substance use and HIV. We have little empirical information regarding the associations of community involvement (CI) and a range of psychosocial and health behavior variables. The purposes of the current study are two-fold; the first, to examine whether community involvement is best conceptualized as a singular, versus multidimensional, construct. Two types of involvement are examined: frequenting bars/clubs and political/activist involvement. The second purpose is to explore the associations among community involvement, sexual risk behavior [i.e., unprotected anal intercourse, (UAI)], and six proposed psychosocial mediators (number of partners, engaging in sex while drunk/high, safe sex norms, internalized homophobia, sexual communication self-efficacy, and gay social support). The data for this study come from the Young Men's Survey, a multi-site evaluation designed to assess the effectiveness of a community-level HIV prevention intervention via self-report surveys administered to young gay and bisexual men aged 18-27 in three southeastern U.S. cities. A subsample of 957 men was used for the current study. Results suggest community involvement is better conceptualized as a multidimensional construct. The two types of involvement had significantly different associations with UAI, number of partners, sex while drunk/high, and internalized homophobia. When the proposed model was explored, a different pattern of results was revealed for each CI type. Frequenting bars/clubs was positively associated with UAI, number of partners, sex while drunk/high, and gay social support, but negatively associated with internalized homophobia. Political/activist involvement was positively associated with sexual communication self-efficacy and gay social support, but negatively associated with internalized homophobia. Of the proposed mediators, only two were significantly associated with UAI: number of partners (positively) and sexual communication self-efficacy (negatively). This study helps elucidate the mixed results in the extant literature regarding the association between CI and UAI. It is recommended that future researchers utilize a multidimensional CI construct to elucidate the associations among CI, psychosocial and health behavior variables, and UAI.
|Advisor:||Deluty, Robert H., Huebner, David M.|
|Commitee:||Bediako, Shawn M., Pitts, Steven, Rebchook, Gregory|
|School:||University of Maryland, Baltimore County|
|School Location:||United States -- Maryland|
|Source:||DAI-B 69/12, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Social psychology, Clinical psychology|
|Keywords:||Community involvement, Gay, Gay men, HIV risk, Men, Sexual risk behavior, Sexual risk mediators|
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