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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 11(3)

Social support and depressive symptoms among ‘money’ boys and general men who have sex with men in Shanghai, China

Huamei Yan A , Frank Y. Wong B C D , Tony Zheng E , Zhen Ning A F , Yingying Ding A , Eric J. Nehl B , Lavinia Lin B and Na He A B G

A Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Fudan University, and The Key Laboratory of Public Health Safety of Ministry of Education, Shanghai 200032, China.
B Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.
C The Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.
D Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.
E Shanghai Piaoxue Cultural Media Limited, Shanghai 200023, China.
F Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Shanghai 200336, China.
G Corresponding author. Email: nhe@shmu.edu.cn

Sexual Health 11(3) 285-287 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/SH14017
Submitted: 15 January 2014  Accepted: 27 February 2014   Published: 12 June 2014

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The primary objective was to examine prevalence and correlates of social support and depressive symptoms among male sex workers (known as ‘money boys’ (MBs)) and general men who have sex with men (MSM) in Shanghai. The Social Provision Scale (SPS), which consists of 24 items, scored out of 4 for social provision, was used to evaluate the functions of social relationships. The score for each item ranges from 1 to 4, with a higher score indicating more social provision. The overall mean SPS score was 68.1 (s.d. = 6.53) for MBs and 69.3 (s.d. = 6.99) for general MSM. Depression was measured with a 12-item version of the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), where a score of 9 has been recommended as the cutoff score to indicate possible depressive symptoms. The prevalence of depressive symptoms was 57.9%, with MBs having a higher level of depressive symptoms than general MSM (70.0% v. 46.1%) (odds ratio = 1.86, 95% confidence interval = 1.07–3.24). Social support was a protective factor for depressive symptoms (odds ratio = 0.92, 95% confidence interval = 0.89–0.96). MSM in China, particularly MBs, are vulnerable to low social support and high depressive symptoms, highlighting the need for tailored psychological programs targeting this population.

Additional keywords: emotional health, gay men, male sex workers.


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