Center for Injury Research and Prevention

Emotional responses to unintentional and intentional traumatic injuries among urban black men: A qualitative study.

TitleEmotional responses to unintentional and intentional traumatic injuries among urban black men: A qualitative study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsJiang T, Webster JL, Robinson A, Kassam-Adams N, Richmond TS
Date Published2017 Dec 06

PURPOSE: The burden of injuries is disproportionately concentrated among Black men in the United States. Previous studies suggest that the mental health effects of trauma may vary by the intentionality of the injury (intentional vs. unintentional), yet little is known about this experience among Black men. We explored the emotional responses to traumatic injuries in the context of injury intentionality among Black men in an urban area.

METHODS: We conducted semi-structured, qualitative interviews with 74 Black men who were traumatically injured. The interviews took place three months after discharge from the hospital and they were audiotaped, transcribed, and de-identified. We used systematic thematic analysis to identify themes about post-trauma emotional responses to intentional and unintentional injuries.

RESULTS: The narratives of intentionally injured men revealed persistent exposure to neighborhood violence and their distrust of others including the people they knew and to whom they felt close. Survivors of unintentional injuries did not express a similar distrust of others. Our findings suggest that survivors of intentional injuries experience loss of social support following their injuries.

CONCLUSIONS: Emotional responses can differ by intentionality of traumatic injury among urban Black men. Intentional injuries may be a marker for chronic exposure to violence and limited social support for recovery. Additional resources should be targeted to survivors of intentional injury who return to disadvantaged communities after medical treatment to decrease risk of re-traumatization and adverse emotional responses.

Alternate JournalInjury
PubMed ID29248186
Grant ListR01 NR013503 / NR / NINR NIH HHS / United States