The concrete jungle: City stress and substance abuse among young adult African American men

Puja Seth, Colleen C. Murray, Nikia D. Braxton, Ralph J. Diclemente

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Substance use is prevalent among African American men living in urban communities. The impact of substance use on the social, psychological, and physical health of African American men has important public health implications for families, communities, and society. Given the adverse consequences of alcohol and drug abuse within communities of color, this study evaluated the relationship between city stress, alcohol consumption, and drug use among African American men. Eighty heterosexual, African American men, 18 to 29 years old, completed psychosocial risk assessments that assessed substance use and city stress. Multiple logistic regression analyses, controlling for age, indicated that participants reporting high levels of urban stress, relative to low levels of urban stress, were more likely to report a history of marijuana use (AOR = 5.19, p =.05), history of ecstasy and/or GHB use (AOR = 3.34, p =.04), having family/friends expressing strong concerns about their illicit drug use (AOR = 4.06, p =.02), and being unable to remember what happened the night before due to drinking (AOR = 4.98, p =.01). African American men living within the confines of a stressful urban environment are at increased risk for exposure to and utilization of illicit substances. Culturally competent public health interventions for substance use/abuse should address psychological factors, such as stress and neighborhood violence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-313
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • African American
  • City stress
  • Men
  • Neighborhood
  • Substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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