Incarcerated Black Men's Restrictive Emotionality: The Influence of Parental Closeness and Childhood Abuse

Shemeka Thorpe, Candice N Hargons, Jardin N Dogan, Shawndaya Thrasher, Danelle Stevens-Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


UNLABELLED: Black men are often socialized to limit their emotional expression, which can lead to negative relationships and emotional health outcomes. Yet, little is known about how childhood experiences influence their emotional restrictiveness in adulthood. This study examined the relationship between parental closeness, childhood abuse, and restricted emotionality among 183 Black incarcerated men nearing release. Findings conclude men who reported having a closer relationship with their parents had lower emotional restrictiveness than men who did not. Men who reported childhood sexual abuse by two people reported more restricted emotionality than their non-abused counterparts. Implications for programming, intervention and prevention strategies are discussed.

PUBLIC SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: The present study suggests childhood abuse, specifically sexual abuse by multiple individuals, is an important risk factor for restrictive emotionality among Black incarcerated men. Additionally, this study highlights the importance of close supportive relationships, particularly with parents, as factors to consider for prevention and intervention approaches, and correctional strategies to foster emotional wellness for this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)844-849
Number of pages6
JournalPsychology of Men and Masculinity
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2021


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