Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 84, Issue 5, pp 681–690 | Cite as

Intimate Partner Abuse among Gay and Bisexual Men: Risk Correlates and Health Outcomes

  • Eric HoustonEmail author
  • David J. McKirnan


Little is known about the patterns and types of intimate partner abuse in same-sex male couples, and few studies have examined the psychosocial characteristics and health problems of gay and bisexual men who experience such abuse. Using a cross-sectional survey sample of 817 men who have sex with men (MSM) in the Chicago area, this study tested the effect of psychological and demographic factors generally associated with intimate partner abuse and examined their relationship to various health problems. Overall, 32.4% (n = 265) of participants reported any form of relationship abuse in a past or current relationship; 20.6% (n = 168) reported a history of verbal abuse (“threatened physically or sexually, publicly humiliated, or controlled”), 19.2% (n = 157) reported physical violence (“hit, kicked, shoved, burned, cut, or otherwise physically hurt”), and 18.5% (n = 151) reported unwanted sexual activity. Fifty-four percent (n = 144) of men reporting any history of abuse reported more than one form. Age and ethnic group were unrelated to reports of abuse. Depression and substance abuse were among the strongest correlates of intimate partner abuse. Men reporting recent unprotected anal sex were more likely to also report abuse, Wald (1, n = 773) = 9.02, p < .05, Odds Ratio (OR) = 1.61, Confidence Interval (CI) = 1.18–2.21. We discuss psychosocial issues faced by gay and bisexual men who experience intimate partner abuse as they may pertain to interventions among this group.


Intimate partner abuse Domestic violence Men who have sex with men Sexually transmitted infections Sexual risk 



This research was supported by a grant from the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Research Department of Howard Brown Health Center. We would like to thank Kellie Dyslin, Christine Holland, Laura Hosto, and Anna K. Veluz for their assistance and support in completing this report.


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Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyHoward Brown Health CenterChicagoUSA

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