Academic journal article Violence and Victims

Predictors of Perpetration of Men's Same-Sex Partner Violence

Academic journal article Violence and Victims

Predictors of Perpetration of Men's Same-Sex Partner Violence

Article excerpt

This study examined alcohol consumption, internalized homophobia, and outness as related to men's (N 5 107) reports of the perpetration of violence against a same-sex partner. Higher typical weekly alcohol consumption, higher levels of internalized homophobia, and less outness (e.g., lower levels of disclosure of one's sexual orientation) predicted the perpetration of partner violence. In contrast to what we expected, the interaction between higher alcohol consumption and higher levels of outness about one's sexual orientation (i.e., being open to friends, family members, work colleagues) increased the likelihood of participants' reports of perpetrating physical violence. These results suggest the importance of both alcohol consumption and sexual minority stressors and their interactions in understanding men's perpetration of same-sex partner violence.

Keywords: alcohol use; internalized homophobia; outness; sexual minority men

Partner violence (PV) remains a substantive health problem in the United States (McHugh, Livingston, & Ford, 2005). At present, we know little about the factors that contribute to PV in sexual minorities and, particularly, men's perpetration of same-sex PV (see Finneran & Stephenson, 2013 for a review). Although some variables may be associated with relationship violence for both heterosexual men and sexual minority men (SMM), SMM experience unique stressors related to their sexual identity/behavior. Thus, this study examined alcohol consumption and sexual minority variables (i.e., outness and internalized homophobia) that may explain the perpetration of PV among SMM.


Given that different variables may contribute to the perpetration of physical versus other forms of violence (e.g., sexual violence, psychological abuse; Edwards & Sylaska, 2013), we chose to focus on the perpetration of physical violence. For this study, PV was used to denote physical aggression that occurs between intimate partners. The lack of attention to violence among SMM may reflect early domestic violence research's focus on unidirectional violence perpetrated by men toward their wives (Hamel, 2007) and the fact that women sustain more injuries from their male partners (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000).

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in understanding health disparities and risks for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) individuals (Institute of Medicine [IOM], 2011), including interest in PV. Obtaining consistent estimates of the prevalence rates of PV among sexual minorities is difficult because of variability in definition and measurement of PV, challenges in obtaining representative samples when some SMM are reluctant to disclose sexual identity, the absence of information about sexual orientation or partner gender in many large data sets (see Baker, Buick, Kim, Moniz, & Nava, 2012), the stigma associated with reporting PV for sexual minorities (Duke & Davidson, 2009), and concerns that reporting PV may fuel further discrimination toward the sexual minority community (Baker et al., 2012; West, 2002).

Based on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (Walters, Chen, & Breiding, 2013), differences in lifetime physical violence victimization rates for gay and bisexual men were 25.2% and 37.3%, respectively. Less research has focused on perpetration relative to victimization. In fact, in a recent review of the literature on SMM, Finneran and Stephenson (2013) reported physical PV perpetration rates that ranged from 3.6% to 39.2% based on eight studies and concluded that perpetration is "rarely measured." For this reason, we chose to focus on PV perpetration.

Theoretical Explanations For Violence Among Sexual Minority Men

As thoughtfully argued by Baker et al. (2012), the challenge is to understand behavior through an integrated theory that considers both social and psychological aspects of violence. …

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