Understanding the Influence of Loneliness on HIV Risk Behavior in Young Men Who Have Sex with Men

Randolph D. Hubach, Anthony S. DiStefano, Michele M. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


In this study we used grounded theory methodology to understand the influence of loneliness in YMSM in terms of HIV risk behavior. Twenty-two YMSM, 18-29 years of age, of HIV-negative/unknown status were interviewed. Results indicated that loneliness is defined in two ways: emotional and social. A cyclical pattern emerged that included negative symptoms, "self-treatment" of loneliness through drug use and sex, temporary relief, remorse related to engaging in HIV risk behaviors, negative self-image, and ultimately the reemergence of initial loneliness symptoms. Results suggest that loneliness in YMSM plays a greater role in HIV-related behavior than previously understood. A preliminary explanatory model, implications, and directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-395
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2012



  • grounded theory
  • qualitative research
  • risk behaviors
  • young men who have sex with men (YMSM)

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