African American men's perceptions of power in intimate relationships

Theresa E. Senn, Michael P. Carey, Peter A. Vanable, Derek X. Seward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Power in intimate relationships is an important predictor of sexual risk behavior. The purpose of this study was to better understand African American men's perceptions of interpersonal power. A total of 20 African American men participated in focus groups to elicit their perceptions of power in intimate relationships; their responses were analyzed using grounded theory. From this analysis, a conceptual framework was developed that, among African American men, power in relationships was largely determined by the contribution of financial resources, and/or withholding sex. These findings were then considered in light of existing social-psychological theories of power in relationships. Future research should consider how to incorporate this understanding of interpersonal power into current theories of sexual risk behavior in order to develop more effective HIV risk reduction programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-318
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Men's Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • African American
  • Heterosexual transmission
  • Power
  • Sexually transmitted diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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