Abstract: Intimate Partner Violence Victimization Among Sexual and Gender Minority Men during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Systematic Review (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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Intimate Partner Violence Victimization Among Sexual and Gender Minority Men during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Systematic Review

Saturday, January 14, 2023
Paradise Valley, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Chenglin Hong, MSW, MPH, PhD Student, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, WA
Background and purpose

Intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization represents a severe public health issue among sexual and gender minority men (SGMM). Evidence suggests IPV victimization among SGMM is associated with adverse physical and mental health well-being and is a major risk factor for substance use disorder and HIV infection. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may exacerbate the disparities and increase the risk of experiencing IPV victimization because of the stay-at-home orders. However, very few studies have examined the changes in IPV victimization among SGMM since the pandemic began. Therefore, this systematic review aims to describe the experiences and changes in IPV victimization among SGMM in published literature and summarize associated factors.


We followed the PRISMA guidelines and searched literature from six major databases with the following criteria: (1) published since 2020, (2) provided empirical data from observational studies or clinical trials, and (3) presented explicated information on SGMM. A manual search using reference lists of retrieved citations and key journals was conducted for other relevant studies. Titles and abstracts of all unique articles were screened independently, and eligible studies were processed for full-text review. Only those met all eligibility criteria were included in the final data extraction and synthesis.


Among 260 articles identified from the database search, seven studies met all the inclusion criteria. Four studies were conducted in the United States, one in Spain and one in China, and the last one utilized a global sample. No investigation was found from Latin America or Africa. All studies used quantitative design and were conducted within 2020. Two studies explicitly focused on youth and young adults SGMM, and one study was conducted among Black SGMM and transgender individuals. Results suggested a high rate of IPV victimization among SGMM compared to pre-pandemic, and SGMM reported having experienced more severe and frequent IPV victimization since the pandemic began. Factors associated with increasing or more severe IPV victimization include younger age, ethnic minority, housing insecurity, income reduction, cut meals during the pandemic, and sex work. SGMM who had mental distress and met sexual partners online or from geosocial networking apps reported more IPV victimization.

Conclusions and implications

This systematic review revealed that sexual and gender minority men experience more severe or frequent intimate partner violence victimization during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Experiencing IPV victimization was associated with multilevel factors. These results were consistent with pre-pandemic and suggested that IPV prevention should consider the socio-ecological approach that addresses multilevel vulnerabilities that contribute to IPV risk. There is an urgent need for programs and policies to provide timely and safe IPV help-seeking services, as lockdown measures have increased victims' time with violent perpetrators and the fear of seeking help. Future research should also consider the qualitative method to examine the in-depth experiences of IPV victimization and inquire about the preferred ways for victims to receive confidential and safe IPV screening services and resources.