Patterns of Alcohol and Other Drug Use Associated with Major Depression Among Gay Men Attending General Practices in Australia

  • Martin HoltEmail author
  • Joanne Bryant
  • Christy E. Newman
  • Dana M. Paquette
  • Limin Mao
  • Michael R. Kidd
  • Deborah C. Saltman
  • Susan C. Kippax


Our aim was to clarify the role of alcohol and other drug (AOD) use in major depression among gay men attending general medical practices. A secondary analysis was conducted on survey data collected from 531 gay men attending high-HIV-caseload general practices in Adelaide and Sydney, Australia. The survey contained demographic, social, behavioural and AOD variables. Participants were classified into those with (n = 130) and without major depression (n = 401) using the PHQ-9 screening tool. Although rates of drug use were very high in the sample, multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that the majority of variables independently associated with major depression were social and behavioural factors. Only one AOD variable was associated with major depression: the use of three or more drug types in the past 6 months. Attending to specific patterns of AOD use may assist in the identification of gay men most at risk of major depression.


Alcohol and other drugs Depression Gay men General practice Social factors 



Thanks to the gay men and general practitioners who participated in the study, Hannah Wilson who assisted with the statistical analysis, the study’s expert reference group and the participants of a writing workshop facilitated by Elisabeth Heseltine. The Primary Health Care Project on HIV and Depression was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council. Funding for secondary analyses, including those reported in this paper, was provided by beyondblue: the national depression initiative. The National Centre in HIV Social Research is supported by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Holt
    • 1
    Email author
  • Joanne Bryant
    • 1
  • Christy E. Newman
    • 1
  • Dana M. Paquette
    • 1
  • Limin Mao
    • 1
  • Michael R. Kidd
    • 2
  • Deborah C. Saltman
    • 3
  • Susan C. Kippax
    • 4
  1. 1.National Centre in HIV Social Research, Level 2, Robert Webster buildingThe University of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of Health SciencesFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.Faculty of Arts and SciencesSouthern Cross UniversityLismoreAustralia
  4. 4.Social Policy Research CentreThe University of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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