Dr. Joseph Richardson Jr., Drs. Kevin Roy and Craig Fryer (SPH) were recently awarded the Brain and Behavior Initiative Seed Grant Award.
Kevin Roy (Associate Professor, Family Science; M-CHE; MPRC)
Craig Fryer (Associate Professor, Behavioral and Community Health; M-CHE; MPRC)
Joseph Richardson (Joel and Kim Feller Professor of African-American Studies and Anthropology; Professor, Epidemiology; Division of Preventive Medicine, UM-SOM)
For black men, experiences of trauma begin early in life, are prolonged, and remain unresolved. These experiences also underlie the vast majority of mental health disparities, particularly higher levels of depression linked to psychosocial stressors and a lack of access to quality mental health services. This project explores the biological, psychological, and sociological factors associated with black men’s experiences of trauma by drawing on complementary quantitative and qualitative methods for both basic and applied research. In order to explore trauma past, present, and future, the study will: 1) gather a more complete understanding of how black men give meaning to prior trauma and violence, particularly childhood experiences; 2) assess the ongoing stress and risk in toxic environments, including stressors like incarceration, family conflict, racialized violence of police and gang activity, and limited employment and educational opportunities; and 3) catalog the creation of strategies for healthy resilience to toxic environments. Research suggests not only that resilience is a distinct path of recovery from trauma but also that there are more paths to resilience than are commonly acknowledged. Accordingly, this study is attuned to black men’s own strengths and adaptations—such as the utilization of close intimate and family relationships—to remain resilient in the face of extensive trauma.