Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education and International Services


Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Elvin Gabriel

Second Advisor

Carole Woolford-Hunt

Third Advisor

Jimmy Kijai



Distrust and socioeconomic barriers are widely recognized as contributors to disparities in the healthcare system, particularly as it relates to mental health care (Lindinger-Sternart, 2015; National Alliance on Mental Illness, n.d.). African Americans continually experience societal pressures to disassociate with African American culture and to assimilate into mainstream culture. Perhaps accessing mental health services via a counselor is an extension of that pressure. In this way, the traditional counseling model for mental health intervention is a culturally counterintuitive approach for developing mental health among African American men. Men are a subset of the African American community that tends to engage in mental health treatment at a significantly lower rate than the general population. Conversely, research suggests that their distress is as significant if not more so than that of majority groups (Mental Health America, n.d.; Roberson & Fitzgerald, 1992; Snowden, 2012). Research shows that cultural and systematic factors drive the underuse of mental health services among African American men (particularly counseling). Community-based psychoeducation spread by community members may be a means of making mental health information more accessible to this population in culturally congruent and enfranchised ways.


A quantitative, non-experimental survey design was employed to examine the relationship between 1) ethnic identity salience, 2) socioeconomic status (the exogenous variables), and 3) attitudes toward seeking mental health treatment (both endogenous and exogenous) as predictors of receptivity toward community-based psychoeducation (the dependent/endogenous variable) among African American men. ANOVA and Structural Equation Modeling were employed to consider the relationship between variables and the latent construct. Convenience sampling was used to recruit a nationally representative sample of 461 African American men from across the country through the employment of Qualtrics data collection servicer. Following data collection, data were screened and analyzed using SPSS and AMOS software programs to ensure valid interpretation.


The results indicated that African American men are most receptive to discussing/receiving mental health information with counselors, friends, and family, and in the corresponding settings (in counseling, social settings, or at home, respectively). Receptivity in those settings had no significant difference, which conveys comparable openness to discussing/receiving mental health information (i.e., psychoeducation). Such findings are indicative of community-based psychoeducation as an alternative to counseling. Overall, respondents were somewhat receptive to a variety of identified settings/individuals; however, barbershops/barbers were the least preferred option for discussing/receiving mental health information. Further, the original structural equation model poorly fit the collected data, so it was adjusted as informed by theory and supported by the literature. The final, good-fitting model explained only 18% of the variance in the dependent variable though it yielded unique insight into the relationship of the variables. Ethnic Identity Salience and Socioeconomic Status were meaningful predictors of Receptivity to Community-based Psychoeducation. Help-seeking Propensity was the only assessed Attitude toward Seeking Mental Health Treatment that was meaningful in the empirical model.


The findings support the existing research that African American men are receptive to community-based psychoeducation when administered through the appropriate channels. Given issues with feasibility and access, community-based psychoeducation dispersed through families and friends at home and in social settings may be preferable to counseling as a means of increasing mental health literacy among the general U.S. population of African American men. Future studies should strive to conceptualize mental health intervention in culturally congruent ways, develop community-based intervention modalities, and study African Americans in novel exploratory ways to generate practical mental health advancement. They should also consider how the changing zeitgeist, individual attitudes, and meaningful personal relationships impact the discussion of mental health and utilization of services among African American men.

Subject Area

African American men; Community mental health services