School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision (PhD)


Fred Volk


Strong Black Woman, Intersectionality, Femininity, Superwoman


Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The unique experiences of African American women are well documented through intersectionality research. Taking an intersectional framework, this study is designed to develop and initially validate a new scale, the Multidimensional Strong Black Woman Scale. The Strong Black Woman is characterized by strength, resilience, independence, stoicism, and caretaking. This schema is adopted by many African American women to combat negative racial stereotypes, born out of slavery and discrimination. The Strong Black Woman often neglects her own mental and physical health in order to care for others, and delays help-seeking behaviors. This has a negative impact on mental health. The strong Black woman schema has been measured over the years in several ways. However, most measures have neglected to address important cultural dimensions including faith, race, and femininity. The Multidimensional Strong Black Woman Scale integrates the characteristics of the Strong Black Woman and important cultural dimensions. Exploratory Factor Analysis resulted in the emergence of six factors: faith, stoicism, femininity, strength, independence, and caretaking. Consistent with research, faith and strength were significantly positively correlated with self-esteem, and negatively correlated with depression, anxiety, and stress. Stoicism was significantly negatively correlated with self-esteem, and significantly positively correlated with depression and stress. Results indicate no significant relationship between the factors of femininity, independence, or caretaking and the mental health measures. Consistent with intersectionality research, African American women and Caucasian women in the sample scored significantly different on four of the six factors of the Multidimensional Strong Black Woman Scale.

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