Domestic Violence Victimization Among Men Who Have Sex with Men in China During the COVID-19 Lockdown

Shufang Sun, Xiaoming Sun, Chongyi Wei, Lingen Shi, Ying Zhang, Don Operario, Hongjing Yan, Nicholas Zaller, Cui Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many countries worldwide have implemented dedicated measures, such as shelter at home, to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. However, those mitigation measures may have major implications for individuals living with someone abusive or controlling. Domestic violence (DV) may be one of the unintended consequences of public health measures due to increased various stressors and reduced access to support and services. There has been a lack of empirical research on DV victimization among gender and sexual minorities, a population vulnerable to interpersonal violence and its associated adverse health outcomes. This study investigates the prevalence of DV victimization among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Jiangsu Province, China, during the COVID-19 lockdown and its correlates with COVID-19–related psychosocial and health stressors. A total of 413 MSM were recruited via snowball sampling, venue-based, and internet-based sampling from four cities in Jiangsu Province. After providing informed consent, all participants completed study questionnaires, followed by HIV testing. Over a quarter of the participants (27.4%) reported DV victimization during the COVID-19 lockdown, including experience of verbal, physical, or sexual abuse. After adjusting sociodemographic factors, DV victimization was associated with various adverse experiences during the COVID-19 lockdown, including increased stress or anxiety level, increased alcohol use, and housing instability. Study findings underscore the prevalence of DV victimization among MSM during the COVID-19 pandemic in China. The results can inform public health efforts to raise awareness and address DV victimization among MSM in the low- and middle-income country context during the COVID-19 pandemic. Adequate health and social services and economic resources are also critical to address the needs of MSM experiencing DV victimization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)NP22135-NP22150
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number23-24
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • COVID-19
  • China
  • domestic violence
  • men who have sex with men

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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