Stress & Parenting Practices Among Low-Income African-American Women

Topics: African American, Family, Parenting Pages: 5 (1665 words) Published: February 15, 2013
Running Head: Stress & Parenting Practices Among Low-Income African-American Women

Stress & Parenting Practices Among Low-Income African-American Women

History has shown us the devastating effects of stress on the African-American family; especially the African-American woman who is economically disadvantaged. Her role as mother and provider are often overwhelming as she is responsible for rearing-children, managing family affairs and oftentimes is the sole financial provider of the family. In an economically improvised society, this task is often challenging and stressful. There are times she is stressed beyond her personal limitation. Studies discussed later in this paper confirm that a support system such as kin support, positively impact her parenting practices and her well-being. Statistics are very clear in painting a bleak picture, one of repeated failures and doom. However, to adequately understand the stress and the parenting practices of a low-income African-American woman, we must take a closer look at the effects of stress on her and the challenges facing her as a parent. We will also review one positive factor associated with her well-being and parenting practices. According to a quote in an article entitled Health Disparities and Stress by Nevid & Rathus (2003), “Stress is the physiological demand placed on the body when one must adapt, cope, or adjust (Nevid & Rathus, 2003). Stress can be a good thing because it helps keep a person alert, however extreme or extended stress can overwhelm the physical body which is not good. The effects of stress on the African-American woman have proven to be enormous and even deadly. According to Dr. Tracy Scott (2008), “stress is the number one health problem facing African Americans.” She also states that the daily struggle of dealing with chauvinism

Stress & Parenting Practices Among Low-Income African-American Women

adds to the elevated and possibly fatal levels of stress in an African-American woman. The quality of her life can inspire an ongoing and constant schizophrenic mindset of rage and integration that experts consider to be a major reason for the escalated death rates in African-Americans. Traditionally, the African-American population has not dealt well with managing stress. Both family and social gathers oftentimes include eating. Traditional foods of African-Americans are usually high in fat, which adds to an unhealthy lifestyle. A poor diet combined with stress is often a contributing factor to many diseases found in the African-American population which can lead to death.

Some of the other possible stressors faced by African-American women include, being out of work, lack of food, unable to afford safe housing or being diagnosed with a major illness. She faces the plight of poverty, prejudice and injustices. These are all real stressors that can seem insurmountable to the African-American woman. To help battle stressors, Scott (2008) recommends daily devotions which include scripture readings and scripture meditation. She believes that stress is not a bad thing, and one must endeavor to be tolerant and even alter defective beliefs if needed. Relaxation is another technique she prescribes, as well as listening to Christian music, cultivating a sense of humor and understanding what you can and cannot control. There are two types of stress, acute and chronic. Acute stress which is experienced by everyone usually last for a short time and comes from daily pressures and routine demands of life. Another type of stress is chronic. Chronic stress can have detrimental effects on the African-American woman because it extends for a longer period of time and negatively impacts Stress & Parenting Practices Among Low-Income African-American Women

her ability to perform daily tasks, such as caring for children. According to the Mayo Clinic Organization (2011) “Long-term activation of the stress-response system...

References: Kasper, J., Ensminger, M., Green, K., Fothergill, K., Juon, H., Robertson, J. & Thorpe, R. (2008). Effects of poverty and family stress over three decades on functional status of older African American women. Journal of Gerontology Series B: Psychology and the Social Sciences, 63(40): S201-S210.
Oravecz, L., Kobinsky, S., Randolph, S. (2008). Community Violence, Interpartner Conflict, Parenting, and Social Support as Predictors of the Social Competence of African American Preschool Children. Journal of Black Psychology, 34, 192-216.
Scott, T (2008). Stress and African Americans: A Daily Devotion [Blog post]. Retrieved from
Taylor, R. D (2010). Kin Support and Parenting Practices Among Low-Income African American Mothers: Moderating Effects of Mothers’ Psychological Adjustment. Journal of Black Psychology, 37, 33-23.
Taylor, R. D (2000). An Examination of the Association of African American Mothers’ Perceptions of their Neighborhoods with their Parenting and Adolescent Adjustment. Journal of Black psychology, 26, 267-287.
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