Racial Identity, Masculinities, and Violence Exposure: Perspectives From Male Adolescents...


In a study led by Steven Quam in collaboration with PISC Senior Scholar, Alison Culyba, MD, PhD, and other researchers explored male youths' conceptions of manhood, influences on manhood, and intersections with interpersonal violence in the context of a community-partnered sexual violence prevention study. They conducted semi-structured interviews with predominantly black males, aged 14–19 years, participating in a gender-transformative sexual violence prevention study. They then used an iterative coding process to identify developing themes around youths' definitions of manhood, influences on manhood, and intersections with racial identity and racism. Participants outlined visions of manhood that included many traditionally masculine attributes and also offered nuance and subversion of traditional masculinity.

Predominant influences on conceptions and experiences of manhood included family and community connections; interpersonal and structural racism; and racial pride. Quam et al. findings suggest entering manhood comes with unique challenges for adolescents who do so in the context of community violence and racism.

This study suggests being mindful of intersections between masculinity and racial injustice can inform violence prevention programs that address the lived experiences of minority male youths in neighborhoods with concentrated disadvantage.

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