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Published Online: 1 September 2022

Physical Violence and Psychological Distress Among Asian and Pacific Islander Sexual Minority Men in the United States Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Publication: LGBT Health
Volume 9, Issue Number 6


Purpose: This study examined differences in self-reported physical violence and psychological distress among Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) sexual minority men (SMM) before and during the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (2019 vs. 2020).
Methods: We used data from 1127 AAPI SMM who completed the 2019 (August 2019–December 2019) and 2020 (August 2020–January 2021) cycles of the American Men's Internet Survey (AMIS). We assessed differences in experiencing physical violence and serious psychological distress by year of survey completion. We used Poisson regression with robust variance estimation to examine whether physical violence was associated with serious psychological distress before and during COVID-19. Multivariate analyses adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics and the interaction between year and violence.
Results: A greater percentage of AAPI SMM had serious psychological distress in 2020 during the pandemic relative to 2019 before the pandemic (56.6% vs. 35.64%, p < 0.001). AAPI SMM who experienced physical violence in the last 6 months were more likely to experience serious psychological distress than those who never experienced physical violence. The association between violence and psychological distress among AAPI SMM was not significantly different before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Conclusions: Violence against AAPI SMM in the United States is widespread. Although we did not find significant differences in exposure to physical violence among AAPI SMM before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, the increase in serious psychological distress during the pandemic among AAPI SMM may indicate heightened need of mental health services.

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Published In

cover image LGBT Health
LGBT Health
Volume 9Issue Number 6August/September 2022
Pages: 418 - 425
PubMed: 35766962


Published in print: August/September 2022
Published online: 1 September 2022
Published ahead of print: 29 June 2022


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School of Social Work, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.
David A. Katz, PhD, MPH
Department of Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.
Roxanne P. Kerani, PhD, MPH
Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.
Justin E. Lerner, PhD, MSW
School of Social Work, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.
Stefan D. Baral, MD, MPH
Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Travis H. Sanchez, DVM, MPH
Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.


Address correspondence to: Jane J. Lee, PhD, MSW, School of Social Work, University of Washington, Box 354900, Seattle, WA 98195-4900, USA [email protected]

Authors' Contributions

J.J.L. conceptualized the study and led the analysis and writing. D.A.K., R.P.K., J.E.L., S.D.B., and T.H.S. provided substantial contributions and supported the analysis, review, and editing of the article.

Author Disclosure Statement

No competing financial interests exist.

Funding Information

The study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health (P30AI050409 and R01MH110358). J.J.L. was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award No. KL2TR002317.

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