203724 Does Religious Coping Moderate the Impact of Racism-Related Stress on Depressive Symptoms Among African American Men?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 2:50 PM

Allison Mathews, BA , Department of Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Wizdom Powell Hammond, PhD, MPH , School of Public Health, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Justin C. Smith, BA , Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, The University of North Carolina at Chapel HIll, Chapel Hill, NC
Keon L. Gilbert, DrPH , Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of North Carolina, Gillings School of Global School of Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC
Travis Melvin , University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Racism-related stress exposure has been shown to adversely affect African American men's mental health. Stress-buffering hypotheses propose that coping confers protective mental health benefits in the face of negative life events. Previous studies demonstrate that African American men rely on religion-centered coping strategies (e.g., forgiveness) when they experience racial discrimination and that such strategies are influenced by traditional masculinity ideology governing norms for emotion disclosure. Neither the influence of masculinity on religious coping nor the specific stress-buffering capacity of religious coping in the context of racism-related stress among African American men have been widely explored. We address these empiric gaps. Data were drawn from The African American Men's Health and Social Life Study, a cross-sectional investigation of 221 adult men (ages 18-78; M = 34) recruited from barbershops in urban and rural U.S. communities. Multivariate regression analyses results indicate that African American men with higher levels of education (β = -.16, p < .05) and with higher religious coping (β = -.17, p < .05) had fewer depressive symptoms. Depressive symptomatology was higher among African American men reporting more frequent racial discrimination experiences (β = .29, p < .001) and who endorsed traditional masculinity ideology around emotional disclosure (β = .21, p < .01). We found a significant effect for the interaction between religious coping and racial discrimination (β = -.22, p < .001), such that when religious coping is low, African American men experience increased depressive symptoms. Our findings affirm the racism related stress-buffering contribution of religious coping.

Learning Objectives:
Identify the effect of religious coping on African American male mental health. Understand the relationship between endorsement of religious coping, discrimination and traditional masculinity ideology on mental health outcomes. Articulate multi-level strategies for decreasing African American men's depressive symptoms related to discrimination.

Keywords: Coping, Male Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I analyzed this data as part of my research in the Men's Health Research Lab (directed by Dr. Wizdom Powell Hammond).
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.