Date of Award

Summer 7-24-2023

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

School

Psychology

Committee Chair

Tammy Greer

Committee Chair School

Psychology

Committee Member 2

Elena Stepanova

Committee Member 2 School

Psychology

Committee Member 3

Kenji Noguchi

Committee Member 3 School

Psychology

Committee Member 4

Brenda Jenkins

Abstract

Black women face a number of poor health outcomes, with 50% of Black women 20 years and older suffering from cardiovascular disease, and a diabetes incidence rate that is almost double that of White women. Health behaviors like physical activity, diet, and stress management can assist in reducing the onset and worsening of these diseases. However, Black women are less likely to engage in these behaviors compared to women of other races. Additionally, even when Black women do engage in positive health behaviors, they see fewer positive results than White women. One potential influencer in the complex relationship that Black women have with diet, exercise, and their health is the Strong Black woman schema (SBW), which purports that Black women are emotionally strong and more resilient than women of other races. This project investigated racial differences in the SBW schema, related individual differences in schema to health behaviors, and tested a scenario as a manipulation of the SBW schema. Indigenous and Black American women had higher SBW schema scores compared to White American women. SBW schema scores were not related to vigorous or moderate physical activity, but it was related to walking behaviors. Lastly, the scenarios were found to be ineffective in manipulating SBW schema.

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