Social support moderates the relationship between gay community integration and sexual risk behavior among gay male couples
Few studies of partnered gay men consider the social context within which sexual behaviors occur or investigate positive aspects of the social environment that may offset factors that are related to risky sexual behaviors. Fewer still include assessment of both individuals making up couples. Using an ecological framework and an actor-partner multilevel analysis approach, the authors investigate how three dimensions of gay community integration are related to individual sexual risk behavior among 108 individuals in 54 couples. They then investigate how general social support and partner-provided, HIV-specific social support moderate these relationships. An individual’s gay community social engagement and general social support interact to predict sexual risk behavior, such that the apparent protective effect of social support is more pronounced among those with less social engagement. The association between partner-reported general social support and safer sexual behaviors is more pronounced among those whose partners disclose their gay identity to more people.