Relationships between importance of religious belief, response to anti-gay violence, and mental health in men who have sex with men in East Africa

Michael W. Ross, Alexandra M. Anderson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

We studied the relationships between the Importance of Religion in 200 homosexual men in Tanzania, along with Depression, Anti-gay Violence experiences (physical, verbal, moral and sexual abuse) and Internalized Homonegativity. The majority of the respondents indicated that religion was very important to them (with no difference between Christian or Muslim respondents). Data indicated that Importance of Religion was an important mediator of the impact of Anti-gay Violence on Depression score, with those reporting that religion was more important to them having a significant relationship between experience of Anti-gay Violence and Depression. These data are consistent with both seeing the anti-gay abuse of violence as a deserved punishment as argued by fundamentalist religions and with the unavailability of religion as a coping or support mechanism for anti-gay abuse or violence. We discuss the data in terms of the Importance of Religion in these men's lives for mental health (Depression and Internalized Homonegativity) and the potentially damaging impact of anti-gay religious beliefs on members of the religion who are themselves gay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationResearch in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 25
EditorsRalph L. Piedmont, Andrew Village
PublisherBrill Academic Publishers
Pages160-172
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9789004272255
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameResearch in the Social Scientific Study of Religion
Volume25
ISSN (Print)1046-8064

Keywords

  • Africa
  • Anti-gay violence
  • Depression
  • Homosexual men
  • Importance of religion
  • Internalized homonegativity

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    Ross, M. W., & Anderson, A. M. (2014). Relationships between importance of religious belief, response to anti-gay violence, and mental health in men who have sex with men in East Africa. In R. L. Piedmont, & A. Village (Eds.), Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 25 (pp. 160-172). (Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion; Vol. 25). Brill Academic Publishers. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004272385-010