Childhood trauma and METH abuse among men who have sex with men: Implications for intervention

Maria Lopez-Patton, Mahendra Kumar, Deborah Jones, Marla Fonseca, Adarsh M. Kumar, Charles B. Nemeroff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Methamphetamine (METH) has become one of the most widely abused drugs in South Florida, particularly among MSM who may or may not be HIV seropositive. High rates of childhood trauma have been reported among HIV-infected MSM (Chartier et al., 2010), but, the association of childhood trauma, and mood disorders with methamphetamine use in HIV-infected men, has not been comprehensively explored. A better understanding of the association between these factors could improve existing substance abuse treatment intervention strategies and medical treatment programs (e.g., medication adherence; Carrico, 2010) to enhance positive health outcomes for male meth abusers living with the psychological consequences of childhood abuse. This study, as part of a larger study, examined the occurrence of childhood trauma and depression in a group of HIV seropositive METH abusing MSM. Significantly higher levels of depression symptom severity were found among METH users relative to non-METH users (p < .001). Irrespective of HIV status, METH users also reported higher frequencies of emotional, physical and sexual child abuse relative to non-METH users (p < .001). Among meth users, depression was predicted by childhood emotional neglect. These results suggest that childhood maltreatment may be implicated in the development of emotional distress (e.g., depression) and higher prevalence of methamphetamine/drug abuse in this population. These findings have important implications for substance abuse interventions, specifically targeting METH addiction among MSM. Addressing childhood trauma and depression may play a key role in enhancing the effectiveness of interventions for methamphetamine addiction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Childhood abuse
  • HIV
  • MSM
  • Methamphetamine
  • Substance abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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