Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Social and Behavioral Health

First Advisor

Kellie Carlyle

Second Advisor

Jessica LaRose

Third Advisor

Amy Adkins

Fourth Advisor

Shawn Utsey

Fifth Advisor

Jeanine Guidry


Recent studies show that African American men in college are disproportionately experiencing high levels of psychological distress, increasing their risk of developing mental health symptoms associated with depression and anxiety. Despite being at higher risk for developing mental health symptoms, university-enrolled, African American men are not seeking help even when experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety, impacting their academic performance. The evidence base describing mental health symptom prevalence and evidence-based prevention strategies among university-enrolled, African American men is limited. To that end, this dissertation work utilized a concurrent, mixed methods approach, theoretically-based in the Social Ecological Model (SEM), to examine the prevalence and correlates of anxiety and depressive symptoms among university-enrolled, African American men, and the contextual factors that impact their perceptions of mental health-related help-seeking. Overall, findings showed that: 1) African American men on this campus are reporting endorsement of anxiety and depressive symptoms at lower rates compared to their male and female counterparts; 2) African American men are utilizing campus health services at lower rates compared to their male and female counterparts; 3) stressful life events are a robust predictor of anxiety and depressive symptoms among this population; and 4) formal therapeutic services may not be preferred or suitable for these men. Researchers, campus-based practitioners, and policymakers who wish to develop effective mental health prevention programs that attenuate mental health risk and increase help-seeking behavior among African American men should aim to expand on these findings and considerations. Importantly, future programming efforts should aim to promote peer-to-peer support and informal, nontraditional methods as viable points for future scientific inquiry, as well as for the development, implementation and evaluation of effective mental health prevention programs. This dissertation study is one of the first to focus specifically on mental health risk and help-seeking behaviors among African American men on a college campus. Hence, further quantitative and qualitative research is needed to improve mental health among this severely marginalized and vulnerable population. Implications for future research are discussed in the following chapters.


© Kofoworola D. A. Williams

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