Introduction: Although adolescence can be a difficult developmental period for all children, negative environmental forces make this period particularly risky for many inner-city black males. As part of the Center for Healthy African American Men through Partnerships, this project is utilizing community-based participatory concepts to design and implement programs to address risk-taking behaviors among middle school black males. Methods: In 2014, parents of black males between the ages of 11 and 14years were recruited from an urban middle school to participate in focus group discussions. Letters were provided to the school to be mailed to parents inviting them to participate in discussion groups. Four focus groups were conducted. Data analyses were conducted fall 2014. Results: Twenty-one parents participated. The major issue affecting the well-being and future success of young black males reported by parents was the lack of social support. Other areas of concern included negative peer pressure, bullying, violence, and lack of opportunities. Across groups, parents identified the lack of male parental presence in households and the subsequent perceived need by the young males to assume leadership roles, anger among the young males, and the lack of licensed counselors to address mental health issues as barriers to success and well-being. Parents emphasized the needs of the individual, family, and community for social support, positive role models, self-esteem, and respect. Conclusions: The present data can inform prevention programs designed to reduce disparities, such as educational underachievement, exposure to violence, and premature mortality experienced by black males. Supplement information This article is part of a supplement entitled African American Men's Health: Research, Practice, and Policy Implications, which is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Publication of this article was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institutes of Health [grant number U54MD008620]. The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities or the National Institutes of Health.
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