Community and Drug Use among Gay Men: The Role of Neighborhoods and Networks.

Published: March 1, 2011

Abstract

Gay neighborhoods serve as vital places for gay men’s socializing, yet few studies have examined their contributions to gay men’s health-either directly or indirectly via residents’ social networks. Drawing from theoretical perspectives on community and networks, we test hypotheses concerning whether gay neighborhoods and social network factors are associated with patterns of recent illicit drug use among a sample of 740 urban gay men from New York City. Higher odds of drug use were observed among individuals who resided in gay neighborhoods, had networks composed predominantly of other gay men, and had increased socialization with gay men. Network factors did not mediate associations between gay neighborhoods and drug use. These findings highlight the need to better contextualize the health risks faced by gay men by accounting for both neighborhood and network structures.

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