School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Melvin Pride


Black women, help-seeking, trust, meaning-making, strong Black woman, GOD


Counseling | Education


Trust and help-seeking are two important aspects of human development, growth, and social functioning. However, there are many meanings about how to define trust and help-seeking in scholarly research. There is also an absence of studies particularly surrounding Black women as it relates to trust and help-seeking beyond psychological and medical domains. The purpose of this descriptive phenomenological study, using Colaizzi’s method, was to explore and understand the lived experiences of Black women regarding trust and help-seeking. Specifically, the study sought to understand how Black women experience and make meaning of trust and help-seeking. Based on Ajzen’s theory of planned behavior (TPB) and Park’s meaning-making model (MMM), data was collected on the perspectives, perceptions, and intentional behaviors (decisions to trust and help-seek). These theories are appropriate for providing frameworks regarding the research questions and analysis. Four research questions are within the study. First, what are the lived experiences of Black women regarding trust? Secondly, what are the lived experiences of Black women regarding help-seeking? How do Black women make meaning of trust? Lastly, how do Black women make meaning of help-seeking? Data were collected through a semi-structured interview based on a sample of convenience. The criteria to participate in the study included identifying as a Black woman in the United States of at least 18 years old. A total of 7 women were involved in the study. Four themes emerged within the study: seeking help as a last resort, trust relating to a person’s actions and intentions, trusting easily as a child while requiring people to earn their trust as adults, and seeking help for situations relating to education and employment primarily.