Associations of Perceived Parental Psychopathology with Mental Health Burden and Lifetime Drug Use in Gay, Bisexual, and other YMSM: The P18 Cohort Study

Perry N. Halkitis, Marybec Griffin-Tomas, Michael D. Levy, Richard E. Greene, Farzana Kapadia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Parental mental health may be a critical component in understanding the overlapping health burdens of mental health symptomatology and drug use in young men who have sex with men (YMSM), yet studies of YMSM have not fully examined these associations. To understand these relationships, data drawn from a study of gay, bisexual, and other YMSM were used to examine associations between perceived parental psychopathology and the health of YMSM. Findings suggest that YMSM reporting at least one parent with perceived depression, manic depression, schizophrenia, or antisocial behavior anytime during their childhoods were more likely to report higher levels of both depressive symptomatology and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than those reporting no perception of any of these psychopathologies in their parents. Number of different drugs used in one’s life were higher among participants who perceived at least one parent as depressed. Mediation analyses indicated that the relationship between perceived parental depression and lifetime drug use of YMSM was mediated both by YMSM depression and YMSM PTSD. These results suggest that parental psychopathology plays an important role in the health of sexual minority men, a population with elevated levels of mental health burden and drug use across the lifespan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1596-1616
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 19 2017



  • YMSM
  • bisexual
  • drug use
  • gay
  • mental health
  • parental psychopathology
  • syndemic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Psychology(all)

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