Objectives. I examined the frequency and developmental timing of traumatic loss resulting from the health disparity of homicide among young Black men in Baltimore, Maryland.
Methods. Using a modified grounded theory approach, I conducted in-depth semistructured interviews with 40 Black men (aged 18–24 years) from January 2012 to June 2013. I also constructed adapted life history calendar tools using chronologies of loss, and (1) provided a comprehensive history of loss, (2) determined a specific frequency of homicide deaths, (3) indicated participants’ relationship to the decedents, and (4) identified the developmental timing of deaths.
Results. On average, participants knew 3 homicide victims who were overwhelmingly peers. Participant experiences of homicide death started in early childhood, peaked in adolescence, and persisted into emerging adulthood. The traumatic loss of peer homicide was a significant developmental turning point and disrupted participants’ social networks.
Conclusions. The traumatic loss of peer homicide was a prevalent life course experience for young Black men and identified the need for trauma- and grief-informed interventions. Future research is needed to examine the physical and psychosocial consequences, coping resources and strategies, and developmental implications of traumatic loss for young Black men in urban contexts.