Resilience: Protective Factors for Depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder among African American Women?

K. B. Holden, N. D. Hernandez, G. L. Wrenn, A. S. Belton


There is a great need to carefully examine issues that may elevate one’s risk for mental illness and develop strategies to mitigate risk and cultivate resilience.  African Americans, specifically African American women (AAW), are disproportionately affected by mental illness, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Higher rates of PTSD among AAW may be explained by significant rates of trauma exposure.  Higher resiliency in individuals with mental illnesses is associated with better treatment response/outcomes.  An examination of two (2) promising psycho-educational curricula for AAW at risk for depression and PTSD supports consideration of resilience as a protective factor among this population.  Strengthening psychological resilience among diverse AAW at risk for depression and/or PTSD may serve as a protective factor for symptom severity.  Multidimensional prevention and intervention strategies should incorporate culturally-centered, gender-specific, and strengths-based (resilience) models of care to help encourage mental health help-seeking and promotion of wellness for AAW.


African American Women; Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; Resilience; Depression; Psycho-education

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