Abstract: Cultural Norms, Mental Health Functioning, and the Perception of Intimate Partner Violence Among Young Black Men (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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236P Cultural Norms, Mental Health Functioning, and the Perception of Intimate Partner Violence Among Young Black Men

Friday, January 13, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Adrienne Baldwin-White, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Georgia, GA
Husain Lateef, PhD, Assistant Professor, Washington University in Saint Louis, St. Louis, MO
Background: Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a serious public health concern that profoundly impacts the lives of women globally. While IPV cuts across race, socioeconomic status, age groups, and geography, marginalized communities experience disproportionate rates. IPV disproportionately affects Black women. Black women are more likely to experience IPV but are less likely to seek support; and therefore have poorer mental health outcomes. Prior research demonstrates that normative cultural beliefs, and mental health play important roles in interpersonal violence. Our study addresses an important gap in the literature, exploring how collectivism, a core normative belief ascribed to African American culture, and factors associated with mental health functioning in emerging adult black men is associated with their views of IPV.

Method: Upon approval by a university institutional review board, data for the study was drawn from Qualtrics Panel to obtain a sample of self-identifying Black males between the ages of 18-25(n=300). Most participants identified ethnically as African American (95%). Participants reported their sense of collectivism (6 items, α = .84), Aggressiveness (12 items, α = .83), and anxiety (single items, over the last two weeks, how often have you been bothered by Feeling nervous, anxious or on edge). Finding no violations of assumptions, multiple regression was used to assess the association between collectivism, aggressiveness, and anxiety with beliefs on intimate partner violence (5 items, α = .81) after controlling for age, household income, and reported education level.

Result: No significant relationship was found between age, household income and education level among participants. Anxiety had a significant relationship with intimate partner beliefs (F (1, 298) = 5.370, P <.05 ), with participants with increased anxiety having more problematic intimate partner beliefs. A model including anxiety, collectivism, and aggressiveness, was a significant predictor of problematic intimate partner beliefs F (6, 293) = 18.59, P <.001), explaining 28% of the variance in intimate partner beliefs. In the final model, collectivism (B= -.21) and aggressiveness (B = .48) were statistically significant predictors of perceptions endorsing IPV. However, when including collectivism and aggressiveness, anxiety was not a significant predictor of endorsing IPV. Participants who reported higher levels of global aggressive confrontation with others were more likely to endorse IPV. Overall, participants with a sense of value for collectivism over individualism were least likely to endorse IPV.

Implications: Because IPV is a social problem, there is a need to address cultural norms in order to reduce rates of IPV and address the needs of survivors. This is particularly important to Black women because cultural factors may impact prevention and intervention efforts in this community. For example, the intersection of race and gender may complicate reporting abuse for Black women who may feel they are betraying their race by calling authorities on their Black male partners. This study shows that community level factors (collectivism) and individual factors (aggressiveness and anxiety) potentially all play a role in adhering to problematic beliefs about IPV. These factors need to be addressed in a multidimensional approach to prevent and address IPV.