Term of Award

Spring 2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health (Dr.P.H.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

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

Moya Alfonso

Committee Member 1

John Luque

Committee Member 2

Amy Hackney

Committee Member 3



African American men are socialized to strive and achieve manhood as defined by society at large. However, becoming a man within African American culture is not so simple. To achieve manhood, African American men must deal with the pressures of staying true to their culture, while striving to be accepted into mainstream society. This dilemma may serve as a stressor. Using a sequential exploratory design, this research explored the influence of masculinity on the coping mechanisms of undergraduate African American men. A secondary purpose was to develop a qualitatively grounded, culturally tailored Masculinity scale for use in future research in this area. The qualitative phase included interviews (N=13) and focus groups (N=4) with 46 African American undergraduate males at two universities in the Southeastern United States. Qualitative results suggested that three levels of masculinity exist for African American men; what being a man is, what being a Black man is, and who influences male development. Survey results (N=162) showed that five levels of masculinity exist for African American men: (1) mainstream society, (2) Black masculinity, (3) primary group, (4) mainstream society/Black masculinity, and (5) primary/peer group and most identify with mainstream society or Black masculinity. Results also showed that a relationship does exist between the type of masculinity one identifies with and coping mechanisms displayed and racial discrimination. Implications for colleges, public health practitioners, and future research are discussed.

Research Data and Supplementary Material