Psychology professor awarded $3.7 million to study impact of social pressures on black men

A psychology professor received a $3.7 million grant to study the impact of social pressures and stressors on black men, according to a University release Monday.

Lisa Bowleg, a professor of applied psychology, will use the study to find ways to decrease drug use and poor health outcomes in black men. The grant was provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes on Drug Abuse, according to the release.

“If you’re a black, heterosexual man with a lower income, what does your stress look like, and what are your experiences with discrimination? And what does that experience look like compared to a black, high-income gay man?” Bowleg said in the release. “The ultimate goal will be to develop very specific health and drug use interventions for black men at different intersectional positions.”

The study will continue through April 2023 in conjunction with Whitman Walker Health, a D.C.-based health center. The project will rely on both stress and drug use biomarkers and self-reported measures of discrimination regarding race, gender and sexual orientation, the release states.

Bowleg said the study will also highlight resources that help people in marginalized groups stay healthy in spite of stress.

“There are going to be men who have all these experiences with discrimination and still stay mentally healthy or don’t rely on drugs to cope,” Bowleg said. “So we want to understand how to replicate that.”

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