Strong Black Womanhood, Stress, and Coping: A Quantitative Investigation of a Culturally Encapsulated Phenomenon

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Virginia Tech

The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of Strong Black Woman attitudes on how African American women perceive and cope with stress. The study included 100 Black female faculty, staff, and students from five universities in the eastern region of the United States including a large, public, research university; a small, private, religious-affiliated university; and three public, historically Black universities. The following research questions guided the study: a) What are the respondents’ levels of Strong Black Woman attitudes, perceived stress, and culture-specific coping? b) How does perception of stress predict Strong Black Woman attitudes? c) How does perception of stress predict the use of culture-specific forms of coping? d) How do Strong Black Woman attitudes mediate the relationship between perception of stress and culture-specific coping? These questions were explored through quantitative research analysis using an Information Questionnaire to collect data regarding demographic background, the Strong Black Woman Cultural Construct Scale (Hamin, 2003), the Perceived Stress Scale – 10 item (Cohen, Kamarck, Mermelstein,1983; Cohen & Williamson,1988), and the Africultural Coping Systems Inventory (Utsey, Adams, and Bolden, 2000).

Simple linear regression revealed that Strong Black Woman attitudes of Caretaking, and Affect Regulation, as well as the Cognitive-Emotional Debriefing form of culture-specific coping were associated with higher levels of stress. Finally, multiple regression analysis revealed that Strong Black Woman attitudes did not have a mediating effect on participants’ level of perceived stress and their coping behaviors used in response to stress. Implications of the findings suggest a need to develop an empirical, theoretical, and clinical understanding of the impact of Strong Black Woman attitudes on women’s wellness.

Strong Black Woman, stress, coping, culture, Women