Through our eyes: Exploring African-American men's perspective on factors affecting transition to manhood

Nazleen Bharmal, David Kennedy, Loretta Jones, Charles Lee-Johnson, D'Ann Morris, Ben Caldwell, Anthony Brown, Tina Houston, Charlene Meeks, Roberto Vargas, Idalid Franco, A. Rab Razzak, Arleen F. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Premature mortality and disparities in morbidity observed in African-American men may be associated with factors in their social, economic, and built environments that may be especially influential during the transition to adulthood. OBJECTIVE: To have young, African-American men from Los Angeles County identify and prioritize factors associated with their transition to manhood using photovoice methodology and pile-sorting exercises. DESIGN: Qualitative study using community-based participatory research (CBPR) and photovoice PARTICIPANTS: Twelve African-American men, ages 16-26 years, from Los Angeles County, California. APPROACH: We used CBPR principles to form a community advisory board (CAB) whose members defined goals for the partnered project, developed the protocols, and participated in data collection and analysis. Participants were given digital cameras to take 50-300 photographs over three months. Pile-sorting techniques were used to facilitate participants' identification and discussion of the themes in their photos and selected photos of the group. Pile-sorts of group photographs were analyzed using multidimensional scaling and hierarchical cluster analysis to systematically compare participants' themes and identify patterns of associations between sorted photographs. Sub-themes and related quotes were also elicited from the pile-sorting transcripts. The CAB and several study participants met periodically to develop dissemination strategies and design interventions informed by study findings. KEY RESULTS: Four dominant themes emerged during analysis: 1) Struggles face during the transition to manhood, 2) Sources of social support, 3) Role of sports, and 4) Views on Los Angeles lifestyle. The project led to the formation of a young men's group and community events featuring participants. CONCLUSIONS: CBPR and photovoice are effective methods to engage young, African-American men to identify and discuss factors affecting their transition to manhood, contextualize research findings, and participate in intervention development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-159
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Men's health
  • Qualitative research
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Socioeconomic factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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