A Comparison of Substance Use Behaviors of Hispanic Men by Sexual Orientation

Nurs Health (Alhambra). 2014;2(1):9-17. doi: 10.13189/nh.2014.020102.


Background/significance: Substance use is a public health concern in the United States. Hispanic men in the United States experience disproportionate rates of substance use when compared to other ethnic groups. Previous research with the general population of Hispanic men has identified factors that are related and may contribute to substance use. In addition, Hispanic men who have sex with men (HMSM) may experience additional social factors that may result in substance use. Despite the body of research on substance use among Hispanic men, no study to date has compared the substance use behaviors of Hispanic men by sexual orientation.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to compare the substance use behaviors of Hispanic men by sexual orientation.

Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive design was used to collect data from 164 community-dwelling Hispanic men (i.e., 77 heterosexual men and 87 HMSM) who resided in the South Florida area. Participants completed standardized measures of substance use and demographic characteristics.

Results: Findings suggested that heterosexual men had higher rates of substance use when compared to MSM. No differences were found among the two groups of men in terms of alcohol intoxication. Religion, education, and income were not predictors of substance use. When health insurance status was controlled, MSM were less likely to report substance use.

Implications: As a population, Hispanic men continue to experience health disparities in terms of substance use. Because substance use renders Hispanic men at risk for other health issues, more research is needed to understand the co-occurring health disparities experienced by Hispanic men who reside in the United States.

Keywords: Hispanic Men; Sexual Orientation; Substance Use.