Objectives: Substance use is prevalent among young sexual minority men and crime exposure is linked with adverse health behaviors. Guided by the protective model of resilience, we examined the impact of crime exposure and resilience resources on substance use behaviors, and whether resilience moderated associations between crime exposure and substance use behaviors. Methods: A cross-sectional sample of young sexual minority men (n = 720) ages 15-24 participated in a one-time survey conducted in seven cities across the United States. Participants' mean age was 21.2 years; 50% self-identified as Black, and 66% self-identified as gay. Participants self-reported on sociodemographic factors, crime exposure, resilience resources, and substance use behaviors. We fit generalized estimating models to examine associations between crime exposure, resilience resources, and the interaction between crime exposure and resilience resources on substance use behaviors. Results: Overall, 31% reported heavy alcohol use, 54% monthly marijuana use, 14% drug use, and 26% reported being a victim of a crime. Crime exposure was associated with an increased odds of alcohol (AOR = 1.45, 95%CI: 1.02, 2.14), marijuana (AOR = 1.41, 95%CI: 1.07, 2.04), and drug use (AOR = 1.94, 95%CI: 1.14, 2.98). Resilience resources were associated with a reduced odds of alcohol use (AOR = 0.66, 95%CI: 0.47, 0.93), marijuana use (AOR = 0.82, 95%CI: 0.60, 0.98), and drug use (AOR = 0.85, 95%CI: 0.54, 0.96). There was a significant interaction such that resilience resources reduced associations between crime exposure and alcohol and drug use. Conclusions: Findings support the protective effects of resilience resources for young sexual minority men. Results highlight the importance of ensuring the availability of community resources to meet the needs of sexual minority youth.
Keywords: Substance use; crime exposure; resilience resources; sexual minority men; youth.