Substance Use and Depression Among Recently Migrated African Gay and Bisexual Men Living in the United States


Immigrant African gay and bisexual men (GBM) are at risk for substance use and adverse mental health outcomes due to negative experiences in home and host countries. Little is known about correlates of substance use and mental health outcomes in this population. We explored pre- and post-migratory factors associated with substance use and depression in recently migrated African GBM. Participants (N = 70) were recruited between July and November 2015 in NYC. Eligible participants were administered a structured questionnaire. Correlates of substance use and depression were identified using bivariate and multivariable analyses. Factors independently associated with current substance use were age, openness about sexual orientation, homophobic experiences in home country, forced sex in home country, current housing instability, and internalized homophobia. Factors independently associated with depression were post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms and alcohol use. Substance use and depression were associated with negative experiences in home and host country.

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The research team would like to acknowledge the brave participants who shared their stories and experiences with us. This research was supported by an HIV Center Pilot grant and a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) center grant (P30-MH43520; principal investigator [PI]: Robert H. Remien, PhD). Dr. Anyamele is supported by an NIMH training grant (T32-MH19139 Behavioral Sciences Research in HIV Infection; PI: Theodorus G.M. Sandfort, PhD). Mr. Ogunbajo contributions to this paper were supported by NIMH (R25-MH083620; PI: Amy Nunn, PhD), the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (P2C-HD041020; PI: Susan Short, PhD), and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research Scholars Program.

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Correspondence to Theodorus G. M. Sandfort.

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Ogunbajo, A., Anyamele, C., Restar, A.J. et al. Substance Use and Depression Among Recently Migrated African Gay and Bisexual Men Living in the United States. J Immigrant Minority Health 21, 1224–1232 (2019).

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  • African gay and bisexual immigrants
  • Substance use
  • Mental health
  • Immigrant health