Syndemic Theory and Male Same Sex Intimate Partner Violence: An Urban/Non-Urban Comparison


Background: The majority of research with gay men has been conducted in urban populations, with minimal work on partner violence in non-urban (suburban and rural) settings. Syndemic theory, the concept that negative health outcomes are increased with the addition of each new deleterious health variable, has been used to understand partner violence. The aim of the study was to determine differences in prevalence and associated factors of male same-sex intimate partner violence (MSSIPV) among gay men residing in urban versus non-urban settings. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted with gay men in the state of California. Variables were identified from syndemic theory and included exposure to intimate partner violence, depression, sexual compulsivity, poly-drug use, and childhood sexual abuse. Results: Demographic differences were evident between urban and non-urban dwelling gay men. Rates of lifetime victimization and perpetration of MSSIPV between urban and non-urban gay men were not significant. In regard to syndemic variables, only childhood sexual abuse (CSA) showed any significant differences between the two populations. Being a victim of CSA increased the odds of being a lifetime victim of MSSIPV by a factor of five for non-urban participants and increased the odds of being a victim by a factor of three for all subjects. Moreover, being a victim of CSA increased the odds of being a lifetime perpetrator of MSSIPV by a factor of three for non-urban participants. Conclusion: This appears to be the first of its kind study differentiating between urban and non-urban MSM. More research is needed to verify our findings of demographic and syndemic differences between these two populations in order to fully understand and address the needs of all members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community.

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Pimentel, M. , Cheng, A. and Kelly, P. (2015) Syndemic Theory and Male Same Sex Intimate Partner Violence: An Urban/Non-Urban Comparison. Open Access Library Journal, 2, 1-9. doi: 10.4236/oalib.1101407.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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