The impact of homophobia, poverty, and racism on the mental health of gay and bisexual Latino men: findings from 3 US cities

Am J Public Health. 2001 Jun;91(6):927-32. doi: 10.2105/ajph.91.6.927.


Objectives: This study assessed the relation between experiences of social discrimination (homophobia, racism, and financial hardship) and symptoms of psychologic distress (anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation) among self-identified gay and bisexual Latino men in the United States.

Methods: Data were collected from a probability sample of 912 men (self-identified as both Latino and nonheterosexual) recruited from the venues and public social spaces identified as both Latino and gay in the cities of Miami, Los Angeles, and New York.

Results: The study showed high prevalence rates of psychologic symptoms of distress in the population of gay Latino men during the 6 months before the interview, including suicidal ideation (17% prevalence), anxiety (44%), and depressed mood (80%). In both univariate and multivariate analyses, experiences of social discrimination were strong predictors of psychologic symptoms.

Conclusions: The mental health difficulties experienced by many gay and bisexual Latino men in the United States are directly related to a social context of oppression that leads to social alienation, low self-esteem, and symptoms of psychologic distress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bisexuality / psychology*
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology*
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Poverty / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prejudice*
  • Self Concept
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Suicide / psychology
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Urban Population