Lifetime Doctor-Diagnosed Mental Health Conditions and Current Substance Use Among Gay and Bisexual Men Living in Vancouver, Canada




Lachowsky, Nathan J.
Dulai, Joshun J. S.
Cui, Zishan
Sereda, Paul
Rich, Ashleigh
Patterson, Thomas L.
Corneil, Trevor T.
Montaner, Julio S. G.
Roth, Eric A.
Hogg, Robert S.

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Substance Use & Misuse


Background—Studies have found that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBM) have higher rates of mental health conditions and substance use than heterosexual men, but are limited by issues of representativeness. Objectives—To determine the prevalence and correlates of mental health disorders among GBM in Metro Vancouver, Canada. Methods—From 2012–2014, the Momentum Health Study recruited GBM (≥16 years) via respondent-driven sampling (RDS) to estimate population parameters. Computer-assisted self-interviews (CASI) collected demographic, psychosocial, and behavioral information, while nurse-administered structured interviews asked about mental health diagnoses and treatment. Multivariate logistic regression using manual backward selection was used to identify covariates for any lifetime doctor-diagnosed: 1) alcohol/substance use disorder, and 2) any other mental health disorder. Results—Of 719 participants, 17.4% reported a substance use disorder and 35.2% reported any other mental health disorder; 24.0% of all GBM were currently receiving treatment. A lifetime substance use disorder diagnosis was negatively associated with being a student (AOR=0.52, 95%CI:0.27–0.99) and an annual income ≥$30,000 CAD (AOR=0.38, 95%CI:0.21–0.67) and positively associated with HIV-positive serostatus (AOR=2.54, 95%CI:1.63–3.96), recent crystal methamphetamine use (AOR=2.73, 95%CI:1.69–4.40) and recent heroin use (AOR=5.59, 95%CI:2.39–13.12). Any other lifetime mental health disorder diagnosis was negatively associated with self-identifying as Latin American (AOR=0.25, 95%CI:0.08–0.81), being a refugee or visa holder (AOR=0.18, 95%CI:0.05–0.65), and living outside Vancouver (AOR=0.52, 95%CI:0.33–0.82), and positively associated with abnormal anxiety symptomology scores (AOR=3.05, 95%CI:2.06–4.51). Conclusions—Mental health conditions and substance use, which have important implications for clinical and public health practice, were highly prevalent and co-occurring.


We thank our community colleagues at the Health Initiative for Men, YouthCO HIV & Hep-C Society of BC, and Positive Living BC for their support. We also thank the research participants for sharing their important data with the Momentum Health Study.


sexual minority, mental illness, depression, anxiety, drug use, syndemics


Lachowsky, N. J., Dulai, J. J. S., Cui, Z., Sereda, P., Rich, A., Patterson, T. L., Corneil, T. T., Montaner, J. S. G., Roth, E. A., Hogg, R. S., & Moore, D. M. (2017). “Lifetime Doctor-Diagnosed Mental Health Conditions and Current Substance Use Among Gay and Bisexual Men Living in Vancouver, Canada.” Substance Use & Misuse, 52(6), 785-797.