A comparison of depressive symptoms, self-esteem, and sexual behaviors between foreign-born and U.S.-born hispanic men who have sex with men: Implications for HIV prevention

Joseph P. De Santis, Elias Provencio Vasquez, James J. Weidel, Susan Watson, Michael Sanchez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Hispanics experience a disproportionate incidence of many diseases when compared to non-Hispanic Whites, including HIV infection. Men who have sex with men (MSM) have the highest incidence of HIV infection in the United States, accounting for 55% of the cases in the Hispanic population. Various risk factors and cultural barriers have an influence on the sexual behaviors of this subgroup of MSM. Objectives: The purpose of this study was two-fold: to describe the levels of depressive symptoms, self-esteem, and sexual behaviors of a sample of Hispanic MSM and to compare levels of these variables in foreign-born and U.S.-born Hispanic MSM. Method: Using a descriptive research design, a convenience sample of 155 Hispanic men was recruited and surveyed from various community sites. Results: Over one-third (n = 55) of the participants had depressive symptoms scores indicative of higher levels of depressive symptoms. Results of the study indicated that there were statistically significant differences in levels of depressive symptoms and sexual behaviors but not in the levels of self-esteem between the foreign-born and the U.S.-born Hispanic MSM. Discussion: In this study, foreign birth appears to be a protective factor against depressive symptoms and high-risk sexual behavior in this sample of MSM. The results of this study provide the foundation for implications for providing mental health services, HIV prevention programs, and future directions for research on this subgroup of MSM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-87
Number of pages8
JournalHispanic Health Care International
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 25 2009



  • Cuban Americans
  • Depression
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Self-concept
  • Sexual behavior
  • Vulnerable populations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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