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An Innovative, Prospective Model to Understand Risk and Protective Factors for Sexual Assault Experiences and Outcomes Among Sexual Minority Men

Research Team


Principal Investigator: Katie M. Edwards

Co-Principal Investigators: Lorey Wheeler

Funding Information

Funding Agency: National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Award Date: Jul 22, 2022

End Date: Jul 21, 2027


Almost half of sexual minority men experience adult sexual assault victimization (e.g., sexual coercion, rape) in their lifetime, and as many as 30% of sexual minority men report lifetime adult sexual assault perpetration. Rates of victimization and perpetration among sexual minority men are alarmingly high even when measured over short periods of time. 

However, little research has examined risk and protective factors for adult sexual assault victimization or perpetration among sexual minority men.

This study uses a longitudinal, prospective design to test three innovative models that include established (e.g., child sexual abuse, heavy episodic drinking), as well as population-specific (e.g., internalized homonegativity, LGBTQ+ sense of community), risk and protective factors to predict experiences of adult sexual assault perpetration among sexual minority men; experiences of adult sexual assault victimization among sexual minority men; and adverse outcomes among sexual minority men who experience an adult sexual assault victimization. Researchers will examine how latent classes that capture multiple intersecting marginalized social identities (i.e., sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, gender identity) and experiences of minority-related stress, act as predictors and moderators in the hypothesized models. 

Researchers will recruit 3,600 sexual minority men, ages 18 to 30, from a geographically and racially diverse sample via various online platforms and community-based agencies across the U.S. To ensure racial, ethnic and gender diversity, researchers will oversample will oversample Black and/or Latinx sexual minority men, as well as trans and transmasculine men. Participants will complete online surveys at 0-, 6-, 12-, 18 and 24- months. 

Findings will be used to help develop affirming and culturally grounded prevention programs to reduce adult sexual assault perpetration, risk reduction programs to reduce adult sexual assault victimization, and intervention initiatives to reduce adverse outcomes associated with adult sexual assault victimization.

Social, Emotional and Behavioral Well-being

Researchers are exploring risk and protective factors for adult sexual assault victimization or perpetration among sexual minority men.
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