Abstract: The Influence of Familial Factors on Suicidal Outcomes Among Young Black Men Who Have Sex with Men (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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The Influence of Familial Factors on Suicidal Outcomes Among Young Black Men Who Have Sex with Men

Friday, January 13, 2023
Alhambra, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Donte Boyd, PhD, Assistant Professor, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Background: Over the past few decades, researchers have highlighted adolescence as a critical time period to consider for suicidal outcomes for gay and/or bisexual males. During this critical developmental stage, factors such as family rejection, anti-LGB stigma, school victimization, bullying, and internalized homophobia have been associated with elevated risk for negative psychosocial and emotional sequalae, including higher risk for suicidal behaviors for gay and/or bisexual youth and young adults. However, there is a significant gap in the literature on protective factors for suicidal behaviors among Black gay and bisexual males on suicidal behaviors. The purpose of this paper is to fill this gap by examining how external assets (e.g., family support, open communication) help prevent suicidal outcomes among LGB Black adolescents and young adults.

Methods: Using a sample of BMSM (18 to 29) (N=400) collected via online, we utilized a path analysis to examine the direct and indirect effects on the influence of family factors on suicide attempts via depression and suicide planning. The survey was programmed with Qualtrics and M-Turk software, for two sampling and social media sites (i.e., Twitter, Facebook). Respondents were recruited from December 1, 2021, to January 31, 2022, for all sites.

Results: Among BMSM, family support was positively associated with depression (b =0.31, p<.05), and depression was associated with suicide planning (b =0.41, p<.001). Talking about concerns such as sex and drugs was directly and positively associated with suicide planning (b =-0.03, p<.001). Our results indicated that family support was indirectly and negatively associated with suicide attempts (b =-0.03, p<.001).

Conclusion: Our results indicate the important role families play to suicide prevention and can be involved in many different ways. Families can serve as a protective mechanism in Black MSM lives by helping them develop life skills and supportive relationships. Parents can encourage their sons to seek professional help from culturally relevant services. They can also actively listen to their sons and actively watch their behaviors that may lead to suicide attempts.