Term of Award

Summer 2018

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health in Community Health Behavior and Education (Dr.P.H.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health

Committee Chair

Stacy Smallwood

Committee Member 1

Haresh Rochani

Committee Member 2

Jeffery Jones


Statement of the Problem: Men who have sex with men (MSM) are at disproportionate risk for HIV infection. While many studies have examined psychosocial factors associated with HIV risk among MSM, few have focused specifically on MSM in the military. The purpose of this exploratory study is to examine ways in which specific psychosocial factors are associated with sexual risk behaviors among MSM in the military.

Methods: Data were collected from 63 MSM who were active duty military personnel or veterans in the Southeastern US. Participants were recruited from geosocial mobile applications, social media platforms, and military LGBT organizations. Logistic regression was used to investigate the associations between internalized homonegativity, masculinity, sexual sensation seeking, degree of outness, and sexual risk behaviors.

Results: The mean age of participants was 38.5 years (SD=13.2). Half of the participants (50.8%) were currently serving on active duty and 49.2% were veterans. Degree of outness (NOS) was negatively correlated with internalized homonegativity (IH) (r = -.70, pr=-.48, pr=.38, pM=105.1, SD = 30.6) had significantly higher MASC scores than veterans (M=88.3, SD = 20.0), t (61) = 2.6, pM = 87.1, SD = 23.4), IH (M = 37.0, SD = 11.6) and NOS (M = 6.8, SD = 2.1) when compared to men who were in a long-term relationship with a woman/married to a woman (MASC: M = 120.8, SD = 33.7, IH: M = 63.4, SD = 23.6 and NOS: M = 3.6, SD = 3.3). Sexual sensation seeking (SSS) was a significant predictor of having concurrent sex partners (β = .24, p<.05).

Conclusions: Results suggest that certain psychosocial factors may manifest differently for MSM in the military, and these factors can influence sexual behaviors. Future studies should further examine how unique sociocultural contexts of military affiliation affect HIV risk in this population.

Research Data and Supplementary Material