Objectives: We examined a syndemic of psychosocial health issues among young men who have sex with men (MSM), with men and women (MSMW), and with women (MSW). We examined hypothesized drivers of syndemic production and effects on suicide attempts.
Methods: Using a pooled data set of 2005 and 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Surveys from 11 jurisdictions, we used structural equation modeling to model a latent syndemic factor of depression symptoms, substance use, risky sex, and intimate partner violence. Multigroup models examined relations between victimization and bullying experiences, syndemic health issues, and serious suicide attempts.
Results: We found experiences of victimization to increase syndemic burden among all male youths, especially MSMW and MSM compared with MSW (variance explained = 44%, 38%, and 10%, respectively). The syndemic factor was shown to increase the odds of reporting a serious suicide attempt, particularly for MSM (odds ratio [OR] = 5.75; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.36, 24.39; P < .001) and MSMW (OR = 5.08; 95% CI = 2.14, 12.28; P < .001) compared with MSW (OR = 3.47; 95% CI = 2.50, 4.83; P < .001).
Conclusions: Interventions addressing multiple psychosocial health outcomes should be developed and tested to better meet the needs of young MSM and MSMW.