Underneath the Mask of the Strong Black Woman Schema: Disentangling Influences of Strength and Self-Silencing on Depressive Symptoms among U.S. Black Women
Links to Fileshttps://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11199-018-0956-y
MetadataShow full item record
Type of Work10 pages
journal article post-print
Citation of Original PublicationAbrams, J.A., Hill, A. & Maxwell, M., Underneath the Mask of the Strong Black Woman Schema: Disentangling Influences of Strength and Self-Silencing on Depressive Symptoms among U.S. Black Women, Sex Roles (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-018-0956-y
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SubjectsAfrican American women
Strong black woman
Recent investigations have elucidated the influence of the Strong Black Woman (SBW) Schema on the mental health and treatment seeking behaviors of Black women in the United States. However, the SBW schematic characteristics that produce depression have yet to be identified. The current study fills this void in the literature through a quantitative examination of how characteristics of the SBW Schema relate to depressive symptomology. Analyses were based on 194 participants, including college students (n = 98) and community members (n = 96), ranging in age from 18 to 82 years-old (M = 37.53, SD = 19.88). As hypothesized, various manifestations of self-silencing were found to significantly mediate the relationship between the perceived obligation to manifest strength (a SBW characteristic) and depressive symptomatology. The present study advances the idea that depressive symptoms are related to endorsement of the SBW Schema and highlights self-silencing as a mechanism by which this relationship occurs. These results offer evidence and clarification of the impact of the SBW Schema on Black women’s mental health and identify specific points of intervention for mental health practitioners conducting therapeutic work with Black women. We provide recommendations for future research to avoid pathologizing strength and we discuss the implications and potential benefits of integrating a Womanist theoretical perspective into counseling for Black women, a population that has historically underutilized mental health resources.