Exploring the Biological, Psychological and Sociological Factors Associated with Black Men’s Experiences of Trauma
The Black Men's Health UMD study explores the biological, psychological and sociological factors associated with black men’s experiences of trauma by drawing on complementary quantitative and qualitative methods for both basic and applied research. In order to explore trauma past, present, and future, the study will:
- Gather a more complete understanding of how black men give meaning to prior trauma and violence, particularly childhood experiences;
- Assess the ongoing stress and risk in toxic environments, including stressors like incarceration, family conflict, racialized violence of police and gang activity, and limited employment and educational opportunities; and
- Catalog the creation of strategies for healthy resilience to toxic environments.
The Black Men's Health UMD study has several ways you can get involved. First, we are actively recruiting Black men who want to be part of the study. Second, we are creating collaborations with researchers and students interested in this project. Third, we are connecting with social workers, physicians, and community health practitioners that work with Black men. If any of these describe you, please consider connecting with us so we can speak with you.
For black men, experiences of trauma begin early in life, are prolonged, and remain unresolved. These experiences also underlie the vast majority of mental health disparities, particularly higher levels of depression linked to psychosocial stressors and a lack of access to quality mental health services. This project explores the biological, psychological, and sociological factors associated with black men’s experiences of trauma by drawing on complementary quantitative and qualitative methods for both basic and applied research. In order to explore trauma past, present, and future, the study will: 1) gather a more complete understanding of how black men give meaning to prior trauma and violence, particularly childhood experiences; 2) assess the ongoing stress and risk in toxic environments, including stressors like incarceration, family conflict, racialized violence of police and gang activity, and limited employment and educational opportunities; and 3) catalog the creation of strategies for healthy resilience to toxic environments.
Research suggests not only that resilience is a distinct path of recovery from trauma but also that there are more paths to resilience than are commonly acknowledged. Accordingly, this study is attuned to black men’s own strengths and adaptations—such as the utilization of close intimate and family relationships—to remain resilient in the face of extensive trauma.
The study will use a mixed-methods study design with Black men (n=30) recruited from three sites in the Washington, D.C., Prince George’s County, and Baltimore areas through community based partnerships. Quantitative measures along with semi-structured in-depth qualitative interviews will be performed using a grounded theoretical framework. The study’s results will be disseminated through conference presentations, peer-reviewed publications, community based webinars, and online interactive formats.
Dr. Craig Fryer
Interim Chair, Behavioral and Community Health Department at the University of Maryland
Trained as behavioral scientist, Dr. Fryer utilizes mixed methods study designs to examine the sociocultural context of health and health status, with an emphasis in community-engaged research. His work focuses on racial and ethnic health disparities in substance use and dependence, specifically tobacco and marijuana use among racial and ethnic youth and young adult populations. Follow Dr. Fryer on Twitter @drcsfryer.
Dr. Kevin Roy
Associate Professor, Family Science at the University of Maryland
Dr. Roy is recognized as an expert in the field of fatherhood research, with two decades of experience working with low-income families and community-based parenting programs. His research focuses on the life course of young men on the margins of kin networks and the work force, as they transition into adulthood and fatherhood. Feel free to follow Dr. Roy on Twitter @DrKevinRoy1.
Dr. Joseph Richardson
Chair, African-American Studies Department at the University of Maryland
Dr. Richardson’s research focuses on four specific areas: 1) Gun violence; 2) The intersection of structural violence, interpersonal violence and trauma among Black boys and young Black men; 3) The intersection of the criminal justice and healthcare systems in lives of young Black men; 4) Parenting strategies for low-income Black male youth. Feel free to follow Dr. Richardson on Twitter @docjorich.
Research Assistant, Family Science at the University of Maryland
Matt is a Family Science doctoral student. His research focuses on ethnic minority men and their families along with interventions incorporating mobile health technology. Feel free to follow Matt on Twitter @MattR_Rodriguez.
Men and Health
Richardson, J., B., Wical, W., Kottage, N., & Bullock, C. (2020). Shook Ones: Understanding the Intersection of Nonfatal Violent Firearm Injury, Incarceration, and Traumatic Stress Among Young Black Men. American Journal of Men’s Health. doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/1557988320982181
Sterling, K. L., Fryer, C. S., & Fagan, P. (2016). The Most Natural Tobacco Used: A Qualitative Investigation of Young Adult Smokers’ Risk Perceptions of Flavored Little Cigars and Cigarillos. Nicotine & tobacco research : official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, 18(5), 827-833. doi:https://doi.org/10.1093/ntr/ntv151
Richardson, J. B., St. Vil, C., Sharpe, T., Wagner, M., & Cooper, C. (2016). Risk factors for recurrent violent injury among black men. Journal of Surgical Research, 204(1), 261-266. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jss.2016.04.027
Cardoza, V. J., Documét, P. I., Fryer, C. S., Gold, M. A., & Butler, J. (2012). Sexual Health Behavior Interventions for U.S. Latino Adolescents: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, 25(2), 136-149. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpag.2011.09.011
Thomas, S. B., Quinn, S. C., Butler, J., Fryer, C. S., & Garza, M. A. (2011). Toward a fourth generation of disparities research to achieve health equity. Annual Review of Public Health, 32, 399-416. doi:https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-publhealth-031210-101136
Men and Relationships
Roy, K., & Yumiseva, M. (2021). Family separation and transnational fathering practices for immigrant Northern Triangle families. Journal of Family Theory & Review. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/jftr.12404
Roy, K. M., Buckmiller, N., & McDowell, A. (2008). Together but not “together”: Trajectories of relationship suspension for low‐income unmarried parents. Family Relations, 57(2), 198-210. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3729.2008.00494.x
Roy, K. M., & Lucas, K. (2006). Generativity as second chance: Low-income fathers and transformation of the difficult past. Research in Human Development, 3(2-3), 139-159. doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/15427609.2006.9683366
Men and Roles
Richardson, J. B. (2012). Beyond the Playing Field: Coaches as Social Capital for Inner-City Adolescent African-American Males. Journal of African American Studies, 16(2), 171-194. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s12111-012-9210-9
Richardson, J. B., Jr. (2009). Men Do Matter: Ethnographic Insights on the Socially Supportive Role of the African American Uncle in the Lives of Inner-City African American Male Youth. Journal of Family Issues, 30(8), 1041-1069. doi:https://doi-org.proxy-um.researchport.umd.edu/10.1177/0192513X08330930
Roy, K. (2008). A Life Course Perspective on Fatherhood and Family Policies in the United States and South Africa. Fathering: A Journal of Theory, Research, and Practice about Men as Fathers, 6(2), 92-112. doi:https://doi.org/10.3149/fth.0602.92
Roy, K. M. (2004). You can’t eat love: Constructing provider role expectations for low-income and working-class fathers. Fathering: A Journal of Theory, Research, and Practice about Men as Fathers, 2(3), 253-276. doi:https://doi.org/10.3149/fth.0203.253
Men and Resources
Roy, K. (1999). Low-income single fathers in an African American community and the requirements of welfare reform. Journal of Family Issues, 20(4), 432-457. doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/019251399020004002
Men and Environments
Roy, K. M., & Smith Lee, J. R. (2020). Ghosting in safe relational spaces: Young Black men and the search for residence. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 70. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2020.101193
Richardson, J. B., Jr., Van Brakle, M., & St Vil, C. (2014). Taking boys out of the hood: exile as a parenting strategy for African American male youth. New directions for child and adolescent development, 2014(143), 11-31. doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/cad.20052
Walker, R., Fryer, C., Butler, J., Keane, C., Kriska, A., & Burke, J. (2011). Factors Influencing Food Buying Practices in Residents of a Low-Income Food Desert and a Low-Income Food Oasis. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 5(3), 247-267. doi:https://doi-org.proxy-um.researchport.umd.edu/10.1177/1558689811412971
Roy, K. (2004). Three-block fathers: Spatial perceptions and kin-work in low-income African American neighborhoods. Social Problems, 51(4), 528-548. doi:https://doi.org/10.1525/sp.2004.51.4.528
Gilbert, K. L., Ray, R., Richardson, J., Carson Byrd, W., & Johnson, O. (2018). The matter of lives underneath black male skin: Using theory and media to explore the case of “justifiable homicides” for black males. Research in Race and Ethnic Relations, 20, 171-183. doi:https://doi.org/10.1108/S0195-744920180000020011
Jones, M. M., & Roy, K. (2017). Placing Health Trajectories in Family and Historical Context: A Proposed Enrichment of the Life Course Health and Development Model. Maternal and child health journal, 21(10), 1853-1860. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-017-2354-4
Roy, K. (2014). Fathering from the long view: Framing personal and social change through life course theory. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 6(4), 319-335. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/jftr.12050
Fryer, C. S., Passmore, S. R., Maietta, R. C., Petruzzelli, J., Casper, E., Brown, N. A., . . . Quinn, S. C. (2016). The Symbolic Value and Limitations of Racial Concordance in Minority Research Engagement. Qualitative health research, 26(6), 830-841. doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732315575708
Roy, K., Zvonkovic, A., Goldberg, A., Sharp, E., & LaRossa, R. (2015). Sampling Richness and Qualitative Integrity: Challenges for Research With Families. Journal of Marriage and Family, 77(1), 243-260. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/jomf.12147
Quinn, S. C., Garza, M. A., Butler, J., Fryer, C. S., Casper, E. T., Thomas, S. B., . . . Kim, K. H. (2012). Improving informed consent with minority participants: results from researcher and community surveys. Journal of empirical research on human research ethics : JERHRE, 7(5), 44-55. doi:https://doi.org/10.1525/jer.2012.7.5.44