Physical, psychosocial, and social health of men who identify as bears: a systematic review

Narciso Quidley-Rodriguez, Joseph De Santis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Aims and objectives: This article examines the existing qualitative and quantitative research on physical, psychosocial and social health of men who identify as Bears, a subcultural group in the gay community. Background: During the 1980s, one of the first Bear communities emerged in San Francisco. Using the United States as an example, other Bear communities were created throughout the world. Today, Bear-related organizations and events are found globally. Methods: A systematic review was conducted exploring the health of men who identify as Bears. Design: To identify articles addressing the health outcomes of men who identify as Bears, the researcher systematically reviewed articles indexed through CINAHL, PsycINFO, Humanities International Index, Cochrane Library, Medline, and LGBT Life. Results: The major findings across the 11 articles were systematically grouped into physical, psychosocial, and social health categories. Men identifying as Bears were more likely to have a higher body mass index, engage in risky sexual behaviours and have a lower self-esteem. Conclusions: Future implications for research and practice regarding the health of men who identify as Bears are addressed. Relevance to clinical practice: Men who identify as Bears have unique health care needs and respond to health care providers who are sensitive towards their needs. Health care providers should understand and acknowledge the unique health needs of men who identify as Bears to better care for these men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3484-3496
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number23-24
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016



  • gay men
  • health disparities
  • health promotion
  • men who have sex with men
  • sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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