Intimate partner violence (IPV) is recognized widely by public health professionals as a severe problem with the potential to produce a broad range of negative consequences: however, most academic studies of IPV have focused on male-to-female violence, and research efforts currently focus on the prevention of violence in heterosexual relationships. However, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that there are substantial levels of IPV in same-sex relationships. Despite considerable increase in feminist and LGBT scholarship over the past two decades, same-gender violence has not been adequately addressed, particularly in male couples. A small number of studies have suggested that the prevalence of IPV among same-sex couples in the US is similar to that seen in heterosexual couples. Existing studies of IPV among same-sex couples have a number of methodological challenges. The majority has focused on lesbians, often to the exclusion of gay and bisexual men and the recruitment of LGBT individuals into studies of IPV has posed a challenge to researchers, due primarily to perceived difficulties in disclosing sexual orientation;as such many previous studies have used convenience samples recruited through LGBT venues and publications. The proposed research aims to examine the typologies of IPV that occur in same-sex male relationships, to examine the relationship between IPV and sexual risk-taking in same-sex male relationships, and to identify how the experience of IPV is influenced by the composition of gay men's social networks and individual social context. The research is conducted in Atlanta, GA, a city with a considerable population of gay and bisexual men. The proposed research involves two stages. The first will use focus group discussions to identify the forms of IPV that occur in same-sex male relationships, and to examine perceived links between IPV and sexual risk-taking. The second will involve a survey of 1000 self-identifying gay and bisexual men in Atlanta, GA. The survey will collect data on the experience and perpetration of violence, experience of racism and homophobia and composition of social networks. Analysis will focus on factors associated with experience/ perpetration of violence, and the link between violence and non-use of condoms. This new information has the potential to add significantly to our understanding of IPV in an under-research population, and to inform the development of interventions to reduce both IPV and HIV transmission in the US.

Public Health Relevance

Qualitative and quantitative data will be collected from a sample of gay and bisexual men in Atlanta, GA to examine the forms of intimate partner violence that occur in same-sex male relationships. Analysis will examine how social networks and social context shape the experience of intimate partner violence in same-sex male relationships.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Psychosocial Development, Risk and Prevention Study Section (PDRP)
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Newcomer, Susan
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Emory University
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Public Health
United States
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Stephenson, Rob; Finneran, Catherine (2017) Receipt and Perpetration of Intimate Partner Violence and Condomless Anal Intercourse Among Gay and Bisexual Men in Atlanta. AIDS Behav 21:2253-2260
Woodyatt, Cory R; Stephenson, Rob (2016) Emotional intimate partner violence experienced by men in same-sex relationships. Cult Health Sex 18:1137-49
Goldenberg, Tamar; Stephenson, Rob; Freeland, Ryan et al. (2016) 'Struggling to be the alpha': sources of tension and intimate partner violence in same-sex relationships between men. Cult Health Sex 18:875-89
Woodyatt, Cory R; Finneran, Catherine A; Stephenson, Rob (2016) In-Person Versus Online Focus Group Discussions: A Comparative Analysis of Data Quality. Qual Health Res 26:741-9
Williams, Whitney; Goldenberg, Tamar; Andes, Karen L et al. (2016) 'He's still with these girls': exploring perceptions of HIV risk among men with behaviourally bisexual male partners. Cult Health Sex :1-13
Stachowski, Courtney; Stephenson, Rob (2015) Homophobia and communal coping for HIV risk management among gay men in relationships. Arch Sex Behav 44:467-74
Finneran, Catherine; Stephenson, Rob (2014) Antecedents of intimate partner violence among gay and bisexual men. Violence Vict 29:422-35
Finneran, Catherine; Stephenson, Rob (2014) Social network composition and sexual risk-taking among gay and bisexual men in Atlanta, GA. AIDS Behav 18:59-68
White, Darcy; Stephenson, Rob (2014) Identity formation, outness, and sexual risk among gay and bisexual men. Am J Mens Health 8:98-109
White, Darcy; Finneran, Catherine; Sato, Kimi N et al. (2014) Sex, HIV, and the Internet: Exploring Variations in the Online Profiles of MSM in the United States. Am J Mens Health 8:289-99

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