Examining masculinity and HIV vulnerability among Black heterosexual college men

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Samuella Opoku Ware (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Amanda Tanner

Abstract: Young Black men in the Southern United States are disproportionately affected by HIV. Masculinity has an effect on HIV related behaviors for men. Hegemonic or traditional masculinity is masculinity that occupies a dominant space of patterned gender relations and can include examples of toughness, aggression, and sexual dominance. However, marginalized groups such as Black men do not benefit from the advantages of being a man due to racism and discrimination. Thus, Black men may strive to adhere to the cultural standard of traditional masculine norms. College is a transitional period that helps Black men define their manhood and the ways they engage (or not) with traditional masculine norms. This adherence to masculine norms can influence protective (e.g., HIV testing) or sexual risk behaviors (e.g., condomless sex). This mixed-methods study explored the social exchange process of masculinity development among Black heterosexual college men. It also examined the relationship between dimensions of masculinity and protective behavioral intentions and sexual risk behaviors and the role of belief of Black disadvantage. Participants were recruited from four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and one Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) to complete an online survey (n=127). Additionally, three focus groups were conducted with men at three of the five schools (n=13). The qualitative data illuminated the ways participants developed their masculinity while in and prior to college through experiences with male role models and their mothers. Participants felt conflicted in their need to adhere or deviate from masculine norms and grappled with the scrutiny they do or would receive from female partners and the campus community. The quantitative data highlighted how dimensions of masculinity such as respect/toughness were positively associated with the intent to use protective behaviors. Additionally, dimensions such as anti-femininity/hypersexuality were positively associated with condomless vaginal and anal sex. Further, lower belief of Black disadvantage negative relationship between respect/toughness and sexual risk behaviors. These data reflect the processes men go through to develop their masculinity and how certain dimensions of masculinity that influence intent to use protective behaviors and sexual risk behaviors. This highlights the need for interventions focused on masculinity that target the differing processes of masculinity development and dimensions that are helpful and harmful to sexual health among young Black heterosexual men.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2020
Black college men, HIV vulnerability, Masculinity
African American male college students $z Southern states
HIV infections $x Risk factors
HIV infection $x Prevention

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