The Impact of Parental Reaction to Sexual Orientation on Depressive Symptoms and Sexual Risk Behavior Among Hispanic Men Who Have Sex with Men

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This study examined the relationship of parent reaction to sexual orientation with depressive symptoms and safer sex among Hispanic adult men who have sex with men (MSM). We also examined men's acculturation to the U.S. (Americanism) in relation with these variables.


Cross-sectional data collected from July 2011 to December 2012, from 125 MSM with a mean age of 43.02 years. Instruments included the Perceived Parent Reaction Scale, the Centers for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, the Safer Sex Behavior Questionnaire and the Bidimensional Acculturation Scale. Data was analyzed using Hierarchical generalized linear models (GZLM).


Among men whose parents knew of their sexual orientation, rejection of son's sexual orientation from mother (p = 0.032) and from father (p = 0.004) was related to higher number of depressive symptoms. Parent reactions were not directly related to safer sex behaviors. Americanism was associated with lower depressive symptoms (p = 0.001) but was not related to safer sex behaviors.


Current parent attitudes about their sons’ sexual orientation had an effect on the sons’ emotional wellbeing and acculturation may play a protective role. Mental health and primary care clinicians working with Hispanic MSM should assess for level of family support and provide resources to assist with disclosure and family acceptance of sexual orientation as indicated, particularly among recently immigrated men who may be at higher risk.

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