271267 Resilience among Black Gay/Bisexual Male Adolescents: Implications for Health Promotion Interventions

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 11:30 AM - 11:45 AM

Gary W. Harper, PhD, MPH , Department of Psychology and MPH Program, DePaul University, Chicago, IL
Omar Bashir Jamil, PhD , Department of Psychology and MPH Program, DePaul University, Chicago, IL
Alan Johnson, MPH (c) , Master of Public Health Program, DePaul University, Chicago, IL
Black gay/bisexual male adolescents (BGBMA) are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS and other negative health outcomes. Although previous research has focused on health risks, information regarding how these youth have remained resilient in the face of oppressive forces is critical in order to develop health promotion interventions. The purpose of this study was to explore resilience among BGBMA.

Data are from the initial phases of a community-based participatory research project focused on developing an HIV prevention intervention for BGBMA. Findings from two mixed-methods studies of gay/bisexual male youth (study 1: qualitative n=63, quantitative=200; Study 2: qualitative =56, quantitative=200) were re-analyzed during 5 monthly meetings of 7 BGMA (ages 19-24) who were members of the study's Youth Action Board, and 2 quarterly meetings of 10 individuals representing community agencies serving BGBMA (Community Provider Action Board).

A phenomenological framework guided data analysis. Nine primary intrapersonal resiliency strategies were reported: 1) changing patterns of self-sabotage, 2) developing self-awareness, 3) increasing self-esteem, 4) changing maladaptive reactions to oppression, 5) using positive activities to cope with stress, 6) maintaining a positive attitude, 7) developing career, educational and life goals, 8) learning resiliency strategies from older gay men, 9) exploring Black gay history. Six primary interpersonal resiliency strategies were reported: 1) building community with other Black gay men, 2) finding mentors, 3) participating in social justice activities, 4) changing social circles to improve life outcomes, 5) creating alternative “family” networks, 6) finding supportive friendship networks.

The findings illustrate that BGBMA demonstrate resilience across multiple dimensions. Intrapersonal resilience strategies focused primarily on changing cognitions and self-directed behaviors, whereas interpersonal resilience strategies focused on building community, seeking support, and providing support to others. Future interventions for BGBMA should work to enhance the resilience of these youth through creative intervention approaches focused on developing and maintaining various resiliency strategies.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe various intrapersonal resiliency strategies utilized by Black gay/bisexual male adolescents. Describe various interpersonal resiliency strategies utilized by Black gay/bisexual male adolescents. Discuss the ways in which resiliency can be promoted among Black gay/bisexual male adolescents through health promotion programs.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Gay

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator on a current grant to explore the HIV prevention and health promotion needs of Black gay/bisexual male adolescents, and have worked with this population both in research and clinically for many years.
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.