Prevention Science

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 44–55 | Cite as

Minority Stress Experiences and Psychological Well-Being: The Impact of Support from and Connection to Social Networks Within the Los Angeles House and Ball Communities

  • Carolyn F. WongEmail author
  • Sheree M. Schrager
  • Ian W. Holloway
  • Ilan H. Meyer
  • Michele D. Kipke


African American young men who have sex with men (AAYMSM) from the House and Ball communities are at high risk for HIV infection. Because these communities are not only sources of risk but also support for AAYMSM, researchers must also consider the resources these communities possess. This knowledge will assist in the formulation of more effective prevention strategies and intervention approaches. Using minority stress theory as a framework, the current study illustrates the impact minority stress has on the psychological well-being of a sample of MSM from the Los Angeles House and Ball communities and investigates how these factors affect the relationship between minority stress and psychological well-being. Surveys were administered to participants over the course of a year. Structural equation modeling was used to estimate a model of the associations between minority stressors, support, connection to social network, and psychological well-being/distress (N = 233). The results indicated significant associations between different sources of minority stress, including distal minority stress (e.g., racism, homophobia), gay identification, and internalized homophobia. Minority stressors were in turn significantly associated with greater distress. However, greater instrumental support significantly reduced the effects of distal minority stress on distress. Greater connection to social network also significantly reduced stress associated with gay identification on distress. The findings captured the diverse sources of minority stress faced by this population and how these stressors are interrelated to impact mental health. The results also illustrate how support from and connection to social networks can reduce the negative impact of minority stress experiences.


House and Ball African American YMSM Minority stress Psychological well-being Social support 



This study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health (R01 DA22968). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute on Drug Abuse or the National Institutes of Health. The authors would like to acknowledge the contributions of the staff members who contributed to the collection, management, analysis and review of these data: Veronica Abernathy, Teela Davis, Deandre Ellison, Judith Grout, Cody Haight, Nefe Iredia, Tattiya Kliengklom, Katrina Kubicek, Sylvia Lambrechts, Donna Luebbe, Miles McNeeley, Griselda Monroy, Heather Reyes, Marcia Reyes, Luis Salazar, Milton Smith, Flor Vindel, and George Weiss. The authors would also like to acknowledge the insightful and practical commentary of the members of the P3 Advisory Board, the Mothers and Fathers from the House of Allure, House of Chanel, House of Ebony, House of Escada, House of Etro Galliano, House of Herrera, House of Garcon, House of Gotti, House of Lauren van Cartier, House of Mizarahi, House of Miyake Mugler, House of Revlon, House of Rodeo, and the House of Ultra Omni. We are especially grateful to all of the parents, leaders, and members of the Los Angeles House and Ball communities for their commitment and willingness to share their diverse and often profound personal experiences as well as welcoming us into a part of their lives.


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Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolyn F. Wong
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Sheree M. Schrager
    • 3
  • Ian W. Holloway
    • 4
  • Ilan H. Meyer
    • 5
  • Michele D. Kipke
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Community, Health Outcomes and Intervention Research Program, The Saban Research InstituteChildren’s Hospital Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pediatrics, Keck School of MedicineUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Division of Adolescent MedicineChildren’s Hospital Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.Department of Social Welfare, Luskin School of Public AffairsUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  5. 5.The Williams Institute, School of LawUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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