Drug Use Among Gay and Bisexual Men at Weekend Dance Parties

The Role of Intentions and Perceptions of Peers' Behaviors

Published in: AIDS and Behavior, v. 17, no. 4, May 2013, p. 1540-1549

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2012

by Rajeev Ramchand, Michael P. Fisher, Beth Ann Griffin, Kirsten Becker, Martin Y. Iguchi

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Substance use is high among gay and bisexual men attending weekend dance events, yet little research has investigated motivations for drug use and contextual factors influencing use in these settings. We hypothesized that beliefs about peer drug use interact with individuals' own drug use intentions to predict use. 489 men attending weekend dance events completed an anonymous assessment asking about their own and their beliefs about other attendants' drug use intentions — 47 % completed a follow-up assessment after the event. Forty-four percent reported intending to use ecstasy at the event; intentions to use GHB, marijuana, cocaine, unprescribed erectile dysfunction drugs, and poppers were also high. Perceptions about other attendant's drug use predicted use among those intending and those not intending to use drugs. Normative beliefs are important predictors of drug use at weekend dance events; event-specific prevention strategies should encompass messages that correct misperceptions of drug use among party attendants.

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