Peer Crowd Affiliations of Adult Gay Men: Linkages With Health Risk Behaviors

Brian L.B. Willoughby, Betty S. Lai, Nathan D. Doty, Eleanor R. Mackey, Neena M. Malik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The social networks of adult gay men play important roles in both the promotion and prevention of health risk. The current investigation had 2 primary goals. First, this study examined the existence of gay peer crowds using the opinions of a large (N = 340) online sample of self-identified gay men. Second, it explored how these peer crowd affiliations may be differentially related to health risk. All participants provided demographic information, opinions regarding the existence of gay peer crowds, and subjective ratings of identification with each crowd. Information regarding marijuana and other drug use, binge drinking, smoking, unprotected sex, and steroid use was also collected. The majority of men surveyed believed in the existence of gay peer crowds. Identifying with Circuit Partiers, Bears, Muscle Boys, Granolas, and Goths was related to adverse health behaviors. Low-risk peer crowd affiliations included Suburbans, Professionals, Twinks, and Activists. These effects were above and beyond those of age, income, and education. Implications for future research and intervention efforts with gay men are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-247
Number of pages13
JournalPsychology of Men and Masculinity
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2008


  • gay men
  • health promotion
  • health risk behaviors
  • peer crowds
  • social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Gender Studies
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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