College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 6-14-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Jocelyn Smith Carter, PhD

Second Advisor

Bernadette Sanchez, PhD

Third Advisor

Kathryn Grant, PhD


The current study explored how internalization of the Strong Black Woman (SBW) race-gender ideology contributes to poor health behaviors and outcomes in Black women. The SBW ideology is associated with maladaptive eating patterns and psychological distress, but less is known about the other physical health implications of this endorsement. The current study sought to better understand the mechanisms that contribute to this relationship and examine the association between endorsement of the SBW ideology and outcomes of physical activity and eating behaviors, weight satisfaction, chronic stress, and depression. Participants were 91 African American women aged 18-65 years recruited from the south and west sides of Chicago, IL. Bivariate correlations and regression analyses were conducted to examine study hypotheses. Results found the obligation to manifest strength was the SBW construct most associated with poor health behaviors and outcomes. More specifically, chronic stress mediated the relationship between obligation to manifest strength and depression. The results of this research provide insight into the psychological and social processes affecting Black women in effort to help reduce the development of chronic diseases in Black women and aid in the development of culturally-responsive prevention and intervention programs and individual and community levels.

SLP Collection