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Major Depression Among Young Men Who Have Sex with Men in Beirut, and Its Association with Structural and Sexual Minority-Related Stressors, and Social Support


Guided by the minority stress model, we assessed depression and its relationship to structural and sexual minority-related stressors and social support in a sample of 226 young (age 18–29 years) men who have sex with men in Beirut, Lebanon. The sample was recruited with long-chain peer referrals and administered a survey that included the PHQ-9 measure of depression. Sixteen percent had current major depression based on our PHQ-9 criteria, and 33% reported any lifetime history of suicidal ideation (including 8% who had made an attempt); 69% had experienced any sexual minority-related discrimination in the past year. In bivariate analysis, structural (unemployment, no legal resident status) and sexual minority-related (greater number of types of discrimination experienced, greater discomfort with one’s sexual orientation) stressors were associated with major depression, as was lower social support. Discomfort with one’s sexual orientation was the only correlate of major depression when controlling for other stressors, social support and socio-demographics. These findings highlight a high level of depression, and the potential for community building and social solidarity for mitigating the effects of stressors based in personal security, internalized stigma, and discrimination.

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This study was funded by the US National Institute of Mental Health (Grant R01MH107272; PI: G. Wagner).

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Correspondence to Glenn J. Wagner.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Wagner, G.J., Ghosh-Dastidar, B., El Khoury, C. et al. Major Depression Among Young Men Who Have Sex with Men in Beirut, and Its Association with Structural and Sexual Minority-Related Stressors, and Social Support. Sex Res Soc Policy 16, 513–520 (2019).

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  • Depression
  • MENA
  • Lebanon
  • Stress
  • Social support
  • MSM
  • Stressors