Online Program

Coping strategies for and health consequences of African American men's stress: Perspectives of African American men and women and implications for intervention

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Katrina R. Ellis, MPH, MSW, PhD(c), School of Public Health, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Derek M. Griffith, PhD, Center for Medicine, Health and Society, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
Julie Ober Allen, MPH, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Extant literature on the health of African American (AA) men suggests that stress plays a critical role in a number of their health outcomes. Few studies, however, have examined AA men and women's beliefs about the consequences of stress on AA men's health or the perceived acceptability of strategies AA men use to cope with stress. Interventions should consider how beliefs about stress, health, and gendered norms shape perceptions of acceptable coping strategies. This study explores these issues with an intersectional approach using qualitative data from African American men and key women in their lives. Thematic content analysis was used to examine data from 18 exploratory focus groups with 154 African American men, ages 30 and older, and eight groups with 77 African American women. There were a number of similarities and differences in men's and women's perceptions that highlight potential roles and strategies for men and women to help men reduce stress. Physical and mental health coping consequences of stress were identified by men and women, but women made stronger connections between men's social health and their stress. Men and women also identified behavioral and psychological coping strategies of AA men under stress. The consequences and coping strategies discussed revealed gendered norms about strength and emotionality as well as relational factors that could help shape the design of interventions aimed at improving AA men's health by modifying their responses to stress.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe coping strategies for and health consequences of stress for middle aged and older African American men, as identified by men and important women in their lives. Identify how the intersection of gender and race/ethnicity shape African American men’s understanding of and responses to stress. Analyze how African American men’s coping strategies may contribute to increased physical health risk, morbidity and mortality and the implications for intervention.

Keyword(s): Stress, African American

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently a PhD candidate at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Among my research interests has been how familial values, beliefs and relationships influence health outcomes. As a member of the research team working on this project, I participated in protocol and focus group questionnaire design, data collection, literature reviews, and data analysis. I have been a contributing author for posters, conference presentations and academic publications.
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.