Examining cultural correlates of active coping among African American female trauma survivors

Danelle Stevens-Watkins, Sakshi Sharma, Joi Sheree Knighton, Carrie B. Oser, Carl G. Leukefeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


African American women are at a greater risk for exposure to multiple traumatic events and are less likely to seek mental health services than White women. Many women report avoidant and passive coping strategies placing them at an increased risk for lower psychological adjustment. Thus, the purpose of the current study is to examine the role of culturally relevant factors such as spirituality, self-esteem, and social support as significant correlates of John Henryism Active Coping among African American female trauma survivors. The study utilized secondary data from the B-WISE project (Black Women in a Study of Epidemics) with a sample of 161 community-based African American women with a self-reported history of trauma. Results indicate that participants with higher self-esteem and existential well-being were more likely to cope actively with daily life stressors. However, sociodemographics were not significant correlates of John Henryism Active Coping at the multivariate level. Implications for clinical practice are discussed along with the Strong Black Woman (SBW) ideology, which may explain overreporting of positive attributes such as self-esteem and existential well-being. Limitations of the study and directions of future research are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-336
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • African American
  • John Henryism
  • trauma
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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