Attitudes and perceived social norms towards drug use among gay and bisexual men in Australia

Lea, Toby and Bourne, Adam and Maher, Lisa and Jin, Fengyi and Haire, Bridget and Bath, Nicky and Grierson, Jeffrey and Prestage, Garrett (2019) Attitudes and perceived social norms towards drug use among gay and bisexual men in Australia. Substance Use and Misuse, 54 (6). pp. 944-954. ISSN 1532-2491

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Background: Gay and bisexual men (GBM) report distinctive patterns and contexts of drug use, yet little has been published about their attitudes towards drug use. Objectives: We developed measures of attitudes and perceived social norms towards drug use, and examined covariates of more accepting attitudes and norms among GBM in Australia. Methods: We analysed baseline data from the [removed for blinded review] study. This is an online prospective observational study of drug use among Australian GBM. We used principal components factor analysis to generate two attitudinal scales assessing “drug use for social and sexual enhancement” and “perceptions of drug risk”. A third perceived social norms scale examined “acceptability of drug use among gay friends”. Results: Among 2,112 participants, 61% reported illicit drug use in the preceding 6 months. Stronger endorsement of drug use for social and sexual engagement and lower perceptions of drug risk were found among men who were more socially engaged with other gay men and reported regular drug use and drug use for sex. In multivariate analyses, all three scales were associated with recent drug use (any use in the previous six months), but only the drug use for social and sexual enhancement scale was associated with regular (at least monthly) use. Conclusions: Drug use and sex are difficult to disentangle for some GBM, and health services and policies could benefit from a better understanding of attitudinal and normative factors associated with drug use in gay social networks, while recognising the role of pleasure in substance use.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: substance use, men who have sex with men, attitudes, norms, chemsex, sexual practices
Faculty: Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine & Social Care
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic User
Depositing User: Symplectic User
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2018 10:20
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:55

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