Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Public Health

Advisor

Sriya Krishnamoorthy

Abstract

African American men in their late teens to early 20s account for nearly half the victims of violent crimes. This mixed methods social epidemiological study was designed to identify the social determinants of violence as described by a purposive sample of young adult African American men (n=353) who have experience as a victim or witness to any type of violence to determine the impact post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms have on recurrent violent injury. The pathways to recurrence model shaped the theoretical framework of this study. Quantitative data were collected using the Past Feelings and Acts of Violence (PFAV) instrument and the PTSD checklist civilian version (PCL-C). Logistic regression and Pearson correlation analysis techniques were used to examine correlations between the variables. The results showed that with higher levels of past violent behaviors there is an increase in PTSD symptoms. Qualitative data regarding exposure to and experiences with violence were collected from a subgroup of participants using open-ended, semistructured interviews (n=5) that were later analyzed using a phenomenological approach. Weapon-carrying, living in urban settings, and gang presence were themes identified by those interviewed as being related to recurrent injury. These findings will encourage social change by stimulating new strategies aimed at long-range systems changes by those who shape policies and influence community investment and engagement in resource â??poor communities where violence is prevalent. More research is needed to determine if early identification and treatment for PTSD among African American men who have been exposed to violence may reduce the incidence of future violence and injury.

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