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Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic and Sexual Minority Boys and Men

Jan 1, 2018

Racial/ethnic and sexual minority males are two of the most persistently unhealthy groups in the United States. In fact, health disadvantages are even more pronounced among groups of boys and men who have not fully enjoyed the socioeconomic power and privilege typically conferred to males in this country. These are boys and men at the intersections of social identities, communities, or groups that have historically been oppressed, marginalized, and stigmatized. Moreover, they are boys and men with lived experiences, occupations, or material circumstances that disconnect them from day-to-day society. Often, these males have some of the most negative health-related outcomes, including shorter lifespans, more threats to their safety and well-being, and less access to health care and social supports.

  • Compared with non-Hispanic White males, boys and men of color are more likely to live in poverty, to have poorer education and educational opportunities, to be under- and unemployed, to be incarcerated, to be exposed to toxic substances, to experience threats and realities of crime, to live with cumulative worries about meeting basic needs, and to have discrimination influence their capacity to achieve and maintain good mental and physical health.
  • Racial, ethnic, and sexual minority males are subject to bias, stereotyping, and discrimination that are linked to increased substance use and to difficulties accessing and completing treatment for substance abuse.
  • Long-lasting effects and course of depression may be more severe within and across Black American ethnic groups than they are for Whites. While Black groups may have a lower lifetime prevalence of depression overall, compared to Whites, they have a higher risk of persistence for depression.
  • African Americans and Native Americans experience homelessness two times more than expected.
  • Sexual and gender minority men of color are more likely to experience sexual violence victimization than heterosexual men with an estimated prevalence of 54.0 percent.
  • Professionals should focus on strengths-based methods and those that emphasize optimal development as opposed to the mitigation of pathology.