CAHSS Faculty Articles

Title

The Social Environmental Elements of Resilience among Vulnerable African American/Black Men Who Have Sex with Men

Department

Department of Family Therapy; Department of Justice and Human Services

Publication Date

7-6-2015

Publication Title

Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment

Volume

8

Issue

25

First Page

923

Last Page

933

Abstract

Resilience theory has been suggested as a strong framework for research on HIV prevention among men who have sex with men (MSM). Among this population, literature indicates that African American/Black MSM are particularly vulnerable to health and social disparities associated with HIV transmission risk. Conceptualizing resilience as a part of one’s social environment, this qualitative study investigates the specific elements of resilience, and the associated contexts and relationships, among a sample of 21 substance-using African American/Black MSM. Data indicate that (1) elements contributing to resilience are multiple and co-occurring, including inner strengths, social relationships, diversity of experience, religion/spirituality, altruism, and creativity; (2) as an element of resilience, social support was experienced differently among men who did and did not have supportive relationships with other gay and bisexual men, which has implications for social service provision and intervention approaches; and (3) diversity of experiences and relationships is an important influencing factor on expressions of resilience. Social services or interventions that facilitate the development of these elements of resilience will likely be especially beneficial for vulnerable African American/Black MSM.

DOI

10.1080/10911359.2015.1040908