Date of Award

Summer 6-15-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Kelly Lewis, PhD

Second Advisor

Leslie Jackson, PhD

Third Advisor

Page Anderson, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Chris Henrick, PhD

Abstract

Strength for African American women and its psychological ramifications are being newly conceptualized and explored empirically in psychological research. The Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale, (Thompson, 2003) was created to empirically test a three factor theoretical model: self reliance, affect regulation, and caretaking as a reliable culturally relevant coping mechanism for African American women. The primary aim of this study is to explore if cultural coping (SBW) moderates the relationship between depression and suicide in African American women. Other aims include, replicating the factor structure of the SBWAS with a community sample, and examining relationships between the SBW, racial identity, traditional coping, and depression. The Strong Black Woman Attitude Scale (SBWAS) was used to measure cultural coping, and the Ways of Coping Questionnaire (WOCQ) was used to measure traditional coping. Racial regard and centrality subscales from the Multidimensional Inventory of Black Identity (MIBI) measured racial identity and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Beck Suicide Scale (BSS) measured depression and suicide respectively. Results showed significant moderations for the total SBW score and the affect regulation subscale. Additionally, racial identity was positively associated with cultural coping, and cultural coping was negatively associated with traditional coping. Depression was positively related to the SBW and suicide. The three factor model was also upheld. The results of this study support the notion that strength for African American women can have detrimental psychological effects on women utilizing this coping style.

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