249382 Resiliency and Black men's health: Linking a community of practice to Black fathers and caregivers of children with special needs

Monday, October 31, 2011: 2:50 PM

James C. Bridgers Jr. Jr., PhD , Center for Technical Assistance, Training, and Research Support, The MayaTech Corporation, Silver Spring, MD
Suzanne M. Randolph, PhD , Center for Community Prevention and Treatment Research, The MayaTech Corporation, Silver Spring, MD
Sally A. Koblinsky, PhD , Department of Family Science, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
This presentation describes how Black men's health is affected by caring for special needs children. Few studies describe how parenting/caregiving can impact men's health. Especially lacking are studies of how men's health is affected by parenting/caregiving for children diagnosed with chronic illnesses and limiting physical and mental abilities. Black children are disproportionately represented among special needs populations. To assist in developing an effective community of practice to support their fathers/caregivers, we utilized community-based participatory research principles to implement a qualitative study of Black men participating in a male caregiver advocacy support group in a poor neighborhood of Washington, DC. Focus groups, follow up interviews and surveys were conducted with fathers or other male caregivers (grandfathers, uncles, older brothers) about their rewards and challenges of caring for a special needs child. Men were asked about the impact of participation in the support group on their well-being. Findings indicate several protective factors that men reported as having increased their resiliency and minimized their susceptibility to poor health, substance abuse, and emotional disorders. Men reported that participation in the all-male support group and having access to the community of practice (social workers, family specialists, health educators) strengthened their parent-child and marital relationships. Men also reported decreased mental stress, increased knowledge about raising a chronically ill child, more favorable attitudes related to health, increased self esteem, and increased coping skills as a result of participation in the male caregiver support group. Results and recommended strategies for effective interventions to promote men's resiliency are discussed.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify two protective factors that increase Black male caregiversí resiliency and minimize their susceptibility to poor health when parenting a child with special needs. Describe two ways linking Black fathers to a community of practice through a male caregiver support group can promote Black menís resiliency and health when caring for a child with special needs.

Keywords: African American, Community Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a family scientist who designed and implemented the research on which the paper is based, and vounteer member of the community of practice which supported the Black fathers/caregivers in the study.
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.