Internalized homophobia, or the internalization of negative attitudes toward one’s sexual minority identity, is associated with sexual risk behaviors among young sexual minority men (YSMM). However, the formation and maintenance of secure or insecure socio-emotional bonds with friends, family members, and intimate partners (i.e., adult attachment) may mitigate or exacerbate the negative effects of exposure to internalized homophobia. Nevertheless, little is known about how adult attachment influences the association between internalized homophobia and sexual risk behaviors (e.g., condomless anal sex) among YSMM. Thus, this study examined the potential moderating effect of adult attachment on the association between internalized homophobia and condomless anal sex (CAS) behaviors (i.e., insertive CAS and receptive CAS) among a sample of N = 268 YSMM who participated in the study between June 2015-March 2017 using zero-inflated Poisson regression models. We found that adult attachment anxiety, but not adult attachment avoidance, significantly moderated the association between internalized homophobia and receptive CAS behaviors such that those higher on adult attachment anxiety and internalized homophobia had fewer receptive CAS events over the preceding 30 days as compared to those lower on adult attachment anxiety and internalized homophobia. Research efforts should focus on unpacking the complex associations between adult attachment, internalized homophobia, and sexual risk behaviors among YSMM.
Adult attachment anxiety is protective against the effects of internalized homophobia on condomless sex among young sexual minority men: The P18 cohort study
Journal of Sex Research [Epub 2023 Feb 1]. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2023.2167192.