In and Out of Our Right Minds: The Mental Health of African American Women

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African American women have commonly been portrayed as "pillars" of their communities--resilient mothers, sisters, wives, and grandmothers who remain steadfast in the face of all adversities. While these portrayals imply that African American women have few psychological problems, the scientific literature and demographic data present a different picture. They reveal that African American women are at increased risk for psychological distress because of factors that disproportionately affect them, including lower incomes, greater poverty and unemployment, unmarried motherhood, racism, and poor physical health. Yet at the same time, rates of mental illness are low. This invaluable book is the first comprehensive examination of the contradictions between the strengths and vulnerabilities of this population. Using the contexts of race, gender, and social class, In and Out of Our Right Minds challenges the traditional notions of mental health and mental illness as they apply to African American women.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Social Work In Health Care - Tawana Ford Sabbath

This is a significant foundation for future research related to this overlooked population.

Social Work In Health Care
This is a significant foundation for future research related to this overlooked population.

— Tawana Ford Sabbath

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231113786
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 9/24/2003
  • Pages: 396
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Diane R. Brown is executive director of the Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Verna M. Keith is chair and associate professor of sociology at Arizona State University.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

About the Contributors
1 A Conceptual Model of Mental Well-Being for African American Women 1
2 The Epidemiology of Mental Disorders and Mental Health Among African American Women 23
3 Changing their Minds: Drug Abuse and Addiction in Black Women 59
4 (Dis)Respected and (Dis)Regarded: Experiences of Racism and Psychological Distress 83
5 Violence and Mental Health 99
6 Color Matters: The Importance of Skin Tone for African American Women's Self-Concept in Black and White America 116
7 Intimate Relationships and Psychological Well-Being 139
8 Low-Income Single Black Mothers: The Influence of Nonresident Fathers' Presence on Mental Well-Being 160
9 Sho' Me the Money: The Relationship Between Social Class and Mental Health Among Married Black Women 173
10 Life Ain't Been No Crystal Stair: Employment, Job Conditions, and Life Satisfaction Among African American Women 191
11 Multiple Social Roles and Multiple Stressors for Black Women 207
12 Keeping the Faith: Religion, Stress, and Psychological Well-Being Among African American Women 223
13 The Benefits and Costs of Social Support for African American Women 242
14 Patterns of Mental Health Services Utilization Among Black Women 258
15 In and Out of Our Right Minds: Strengths, Vulnerabilities, and the Mental Well-Being of African American Women 277
Index 293
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