Background: By the year 2020, children of color will become the majority of
those 18 years of age and under in United States. There is a dearth of research that investigates
the developmental trajectories of children of color, especially those who live in communities
where they are exposed to traumatic events. African American males reared in poverty
and/or living in violent communities are an especially vulnerable group.
Methods: This paper examines the unique experiences of Black male adolescents and their
emotional, psychological, and neurobiological responses to trauma.
Discussion: Trauma has multifaceted effects on the lives of Black males. Behavioral disturbances
can result in exclusion from school, leading to further traumatization and deprivation.
Much of what appears to be antisocial behavior is in fact adaptive response to living in violent
communities. It is important to consider the role of this complex interweaving of circumstances
in understanding the development of this vulnerable group.