Superwoman schema: African American women's views on stress, strength, and health.
ABSTRACT Researchers have suggested that health disparities in African American women, including adverse birth outcomes, lupus, obesity, and untreated depression, can be explained by stress and coping. The Strong Black Woman/Superwoman role has been highlighted as a phenomenon influencing African American women's experiences and reports of stress. The purpose of this study was to develop a preliminary conceptual framework for Superwoman Schema (SWS) by exploring women's descriptions of the Superwoman role; perceptions of contextual factors, benefits, and liabilities; and beliefs regarding how it influences health. Analysis of eight focus group discussions with demographically diverse African American women yielded themes characterizing the Superwoman role and personal or sociohistorical contextual factors. Participants reported that the Superwoman role had benefits (preservation of self and family or community) and liabilities (relationship strain, stress-related health behaviors, and stress embodiment). The SWS framework might be used to enhance future research on stress and African American women's health.
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ABSTRACT: I emphasize 3 features of racial inequality in women's health: It is greatest during young and middle adulthood; in some instances its severity is far greater than national comparisons suggest; and excessive levels of chronic morbidity and disability are widespread among African-American women, regardless of socioeconomic position. I propose that the weathering framework better captures these aspects of health inequality than do developmental models or those that focus on the role of poverty or individual unhealthy behaviors alone. Instead, weathering suggests that African-American women experience early health deterioration as a consequence of the cumulative impact of repeated experience with social, economic, or political exclusion. This includes the physical cost of engaging actively to address structural barriers to achievement and well-being. The weathering framework can be applied to research, to clinical and public health practice, and to social policy and political action.Journal of the American Medical Women's Association (1972) 02/2001; 56(4):133-6, 149-50.
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ABSTRACT: We examined a model of stress and coping in 749 African-American women at risk for HIV infection. Women in the sample were either homeless, intravenous drug users (IVDUs) sexual partners of IVDUs, or prostitutes. A model was hypothesized based on stress and coping theory and research. Antecedents studied were personal resources, specifically self-esteem and available support. Mediators were threat appraisal and coping efforts. Outcomes studied were emotional distress and HIV risk behaviors. Structural equation modeling techniques were used to test hypothesized pathways between these variables. Forty-five percent of the variance in emotional distress in these women was explained by the model with self-esteem and avoidant coping the strongest predictors. Ten percent of the variance in risk behavior was explained by the model with emotional distress the strongest predictor. Direct and indirect pathways predicting risk behavior and distress are discussed. Implications of results for intervention and theory building are considered.Anxiety Stress and Coping - ANXIETY STRESS COPING. 01/1993; 6(2):133-148.
- Journal of Women Politics & Policy - J WOMEN POLIT POLICY. 01/2001; 23(3):1-33.