Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Background: Over the last 30 years, Black men who have sex with men (MSM) have been disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS while accounting for only approximately 1% of the population of the United States. The majority of research with Black MSM has focused on HIV infection risk factors, but very little attention has been given to their overall health and well-being. The breadth of HIV-health related research that includes Black MSM tends to demonstrate high levels of racial, environmental, and economic disparities that need to be addressed. However, more research must be conducted to explicate the process of exercising strength and resilience toward health goal achievement for Black MSM. While HIV continues to be a major health concern among Black MSM, future research that seeks to understand the interplay among strengths, motivators, and barriers for health goal achievement among Black MSM is warranted. This study will address this gap in knowledge by exploring and documenting the dynamic process of health goal achievement among a cohort of Black MSM in Chicago.
Methods: To explicate the process of health goal achievement among Black MSM, a series of seven focus group sessions were conducted with a cohort of Black MSM in Chicago. Guided by social work’s strength-based approach, a grounded theory method was used to conceptualize and theorize the perspective of Black MSM on health goal achievement. This participant-centered approach allowed for building upon theoretical concepts that can explicate how Black MSM achieve their health goals despite their unique obstacles and challenges. The focus groups were used to investigate and collect qualitative data on the interplay among strengths, motivators and challenges related to health goal achievement among Black MSM living in Chicago. To understand health goal achievement among Black MSM, open and axial coding were conducted until saturation was reached. The grounded theory of health goal achievement among Black MSM was combined with comparing and contrasting theoretical frameworks such as intersectionality, resilience, and psychological self-sufficiency (PSS).
Findings: All participants were Black MSM (n = 27) between the ages of 25 and 60. The results from this study suggested that domains of health and health goal achievement for Black MSM are categorized into three broad themes: (1) health goals and concerns, (2) multiple strategies to stay on track with Black MSM health, and (3) tools to overcome setbacks and health goal barriers. The findings indicated that future interventions with elements of mental health and social capital can support health goal achievement for Black MSM.
Discussion: Overall, the findings implied that the development of mental health interventions for Black MSM can be used as a platform that empowers them to reach their health goals. The findings suggested that mental health, psychological empowerment, social support, and social capital were main contributors toward health goal achievement for Black MSM in Chicago. The main contributors of health goal achievement for Black MSM included elements of motivation and goal-orientated pathways that enhance health-promoting behaviors and health goal success among Black MSM.
Johnson, Anthony, "Understanding the Process of Health Goal Achievement among Black Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM) in Chicago: An Exploratory Qualitative Study" (2022). Dissertations. 3997.
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