Hard-to-reach populations and stigmatized topics: Internet-based mental health research for Japanese men who are gay, bisexual, or questioning their sexual orientation
Yasuharu Hidaka, Don Operario
Kansai University of Nursing and Health Sciences, Awaji, Japan; Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
Internet and Suicide. Hauppauge, New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2009, 452 pages.
This chapter explores the utility of the Internet for conducting research with hard-to-reach populations and on topics that are socially stigmatized. We present findings from a series of studies of mental health, suicide, and sexuality among Japanese men who are gay, bisexual or questioning their sexual orientation. Due in part to social biases and cultural stigmas, very little previous research has examined these issues and this population. Use of the Internet has facilitated access to members of this group, offered an economic modality for recruiting participants and collecting data, maximized respondents’ feelings of comfort and privacy, and produced new insights into developmental milestones and mental health outcomes such as suicidality for these men. Internet-based approaches are also a promising strategy for delivering interventions, counseling, education, and referrals to these men who are at high risk for mental health problems and sexual risk including HIV.