Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

de St. Aubin, Ed.

Second Advisor

Holly, Lindsay

Third Advisor

Robinson, Karen


IntroductionTime and again the voices, experiences, and interests of Black women are systematically marginalized, overlooked or dismissed (King, 2019). In addition, and possibly because of this, Black women are consistently underrepresented and historically overlooked in research (Allen, 2008; Corker, 2010). It is imperative to allow the voices of Black women to begin to fill this scientific gap. Mixed-methods narrative research provides a strength-based framework to do so. This study explores how Black women talk about the lowest point in their life and how that relates to various outcomes of wellness. Method The low point response narrative from The Life Story Interview (McAdams, 2008) and various quantitative measures of wellness were collected from 82 Black women from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. From these, a representative sample of 20 low point responses from women varying in age and income were selected and used to explore common themes. The following themes emerged from this representative group: 1. Loss; 2. Forms of Coping; 3. Emotions; 4. Language Use; 5. Strong Black Women Stereotype; and 6. Trauma. Thematic scorings systems were created and subsequently applied to the remaining 62 low point responses. Independent samples t-tests were conducted to explore mean differences between the thematic scoring systems and quantitative measures of wellness. Results When describing their lowest point in life, Black women with the strongest wellness profiles mentioned self-care coping (lower anxiety), and faith as a coping mechanism (lower perceived stress and higher psychological well-being). These women used positive emotions during their low point responses (lower perceived stress and higher psychological well-being) and described putting others before one’s self (higher psychological well-being). Finally, Black women with the strongest wellness profiles recounted a life threatening or serious injury to a person close to them (lower perceived stress, and higher social well-being). Discussion These results may help mental health professionals pick up on important dynamics during conversation with Black women from Milwaukee that could inform appropriateness for treatment and/or intervention. These findings can also inform the allocation of strength-based resources for Black women in this community.

Included in

Psychology Commons