Effects of Parental Monitoring and Knowledge on Substance Use and HIV Risk Behaviors Among Young Men Who have Sex with Men: Results from Three Studies
Young men who have sex with men (YMSM) are disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS and have elevated rates of substance use. Parenting practices, such as knowledge of child whereabouts and monitoring of behavioral rules, protect against these outcomes among heterosexual youth. This article examined the relationship between these parenting practices and substance use and HIV risk behaviors among YMSM. Data are reported from three similar studies of YMSM: ChiGuys (ages 14–18), Crew 450 (ages 16–22), and RADAR (ages 16–29). The ChiGuys and RADAR studies report cross-sectional analyses, whereas Crew 450 reports latent growth curve analyses. In ChiGuys and Crew 450, participants reported significantly higher scores for parental knowledge of general activities than parental knowledge of gay-specific activities. Parental knowledge of general activities was significantly associated with less binge drinking in both samples and with condomless sex in the ChiGuys sample. Parental monitoring was significantly associated with less marijuana use and condomless sex in younger RADAR participants (16–18 years) and with less drug use in older participants (>18 years). Findings support the need for further research on the influences of parents on YMSM health risk behaviors and the value of exploring family- and parent-interventions to address YMSM health.