Term of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health in Community Health Behavior and Education (Dr.P.H.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health

Committee Chair

Stacy Smallwood

Committee Member 1

Andrew Hansen

Committee Member 2

Haresh Rochani


Introduction: Sexual health disparities in college-aged Black men remains a critical public health issue. Black men are likely to have an earlier sexual debut, acquire sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV at higher rates, and enter fatherhood at earlier ages than their White counterparts. Previous research has identified masculinity and perceived social support as predictors of sexual risk behavior for men in the U.S. However, when exploring masculinity’s influence on sexual behavior, studies that are culturally sensitive to Black men’s experiences and perspectives on manhood are few. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between Black masculinity, perceived social support, and risky sexual behaviors in Black male college students. Methods: A sample of 175 Black male college students attending a PWI and HBCU participated in this study through completion of paper and electronic surveys. Perceptions of Black masculinity were measured using the Black Masculinity Inventory Scale (BMIS), while perceived social support was measured using the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MPSS) and the University Environment Scale (UES). Sexual behavior was measured using the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) and the Sexual Scripts Scale. Logistic regression and moderation analyses were performed to explore Black masculinity and perceived social support’s relationship with sexual risk behaviors. Results: Two of the five BMIS subscales were identified as having statistically significant associations with risky sexual behaviors. The Mainstream Society subscale was positively associated with alcohol/drug use prior to sexual activity, while the Mainstream Society/Black Masculinity subscale was negatively associated. Having high levels of perceived and institutional social support also moderated the relationship between Black Masculinity and alcohol/drug use prior to sexual activity. Conclusion: The findings of this study illustrate the ways in which cultural expectations and social networks are can influence Black men’s sexual health. Public health interventions should consider using a multifaceted, culturally tailored approach to address the sexual health disparities experienced by Black men.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material