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Scholarly Research

How do Media Neglect the Mental of African American Women


Author(s) : McKenzie, A

Author Affiliation : Mass Communications Department, Lane College, Jackson, TN

Date: April 2023




In my recent investigations, I have found that African American women have narrative upon them that neglects their mental health. The two narratives are The Angry Black Woman (ABW) and The Strong Black Woman (SBW). I bring insight on the influence of the media and society on the mental health of African American women and treatment seeking behaviors of Black women in the United States. Analyses were based on a small sample size of 100 participants, including college students, community members, and women of authority ranging in age from 16 to 65 years old. As speculated, multiple obscurities of reticent behavior were found to significantly mediate the relationship between the perceived obligation to manifest strength (a SBW characteristic) and depression. The study advances the idea that depressive symptoms are related to endorsement of the SBW or ABW narrative. These results offer evidence and clarification of the impact of the SBW and ABW harm the mental health of Black women. I provide recommendations for future research to avoid pathologizing strength and I propose potential benefits of integrating a Womanist theoretical perspective into counseling for Black women, a population that has historically underutilized mental health resource. 


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