Chill, be cool man: African American men, identity, coping, and aggressive ideation

Alvin Thomas, Wizdom Powell Hammond, Laura P. Kohn-Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Aggression is an important correlate of violence, depression, coping, and suicide among emerging young African American males. Yet most researchers treat aggression deterministically, fail to address cultural factors, or consider the potential for individual characteristics to exert an intersectional influence on this psychosocial outcome. Addressing this gap, we consider the moderating effect of coping on the relationship between masculine and racial identity and aggressive ideation among African American males (N = 128) drawn from 2 large Midwestern universities. Using the phenomenological variant of ecological systems theory and person-centered methodology as a guide, hierarchical cluster analysis grouped participants into profile groups based on their responses to both a measure of racial identity and a measure of masculine identity. Results from the cluster analysis revealed 3 distinct identity clusters: Identity Ambivalent, Identity Appraising, and Identity Consolidated. Although these cluster groups did not differ with regard to coping, significant differences were observed between cluster groups in relation to aggressive ideation. Further, a full model with identity profile clusters, coping, and aggressive ideation indicates that cluster membership significantly moderates the relationship between coping and aggressive ideation. The implications of these data for intersecting identities of African American men, and the association of identity and outcomes related to risk for mental health and violence, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-379
Number of pages11
JournalCultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • African American
  • Aggression
  • Coping
  • Identity
  • Masculinity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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