Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

First Advisor

Dr. Lina Hartocollis

Second Advisor

Dr. Claudia Baquet

Third Advisor

Dr. Kimberly Henderson


Social Determinants of Health (SDH) are the conditions where people are born, grow, live, work, and age shaped by money, power, and resources that influence health outcomes. African-American men are disproportionately impacted by SDH. This qualitative study focused on low income heterosexual African-American men ages 18 to 44, utilized an ecological and intracategorical intersectionality conceptual framework to explore: 1) How do African-American men describe and experience the multiple intersections of gender, race, and socioeconomic status (SES)? 2) How is the intersectionality of African-American men’s gender, race, and SES associated with individual health behaviors, psychosocial and biological factors, community contextual factors, socioeconomic and structural factors? and 3) How do African-American men perceive self-agency with respect to health and wellbeing? Data was collected through 60 to 90 minute semi-structured individual interviews. Modified grounded theory methodology was utilized to analyze results. Seven themes that demonstrate how participants’ individual level experiences as African-American men reflect macro socioeconomic and structural inequalities were identified: (1) “It’s Hard to Be a Black Man in America”: Intersectional Self-concept, (2) “We Got to Be Warriors, We Got to Be Soldiers”: Gender Role Strain, (3) “You’re Going to Take the Working Route or the Drug Route”: Pressures of Employment and Unemployment, (4) “Black Men get Treated Like Trash”: Discrimination and Microaggressions, (5) “The Police Kill Us, Beat Us, and Steal From Us”: Police Surveillance and Harassment, (6) “Once I Started Selling Drugs, I Started Getting Locked Up”: Crime and Punishment, and (7) “What are the Resources in My Community?”: Access to Resources.

Included in

Social Work Commons