Date of Conferral







Nina Nabors


The mother-daughter relationship holds a special place in the lives of African American women, given the rich history of women of African descent and the complexities of female relationships. However, few studies have discussed the evolution of this relationship and what it means in the lives of African American mothers and daughters. Using relational-cultural theory (RCT) and Black feminist theory, this qualitative grounded theory study described the experiences and evolution of the African American mother-daughter relationship. A sample of 10 mother-daughter dyads was interviewed together about their relationship. Research questions addressed how African American mothers and daughters define, maintain, and value their relationships with one another. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, coded, and analyzed. Themes generated from the data included the relationship undergoing ups and downs, including changes and fluctuations as the pair maintains an enduring bond; unconditional love; legacy; ongoing support; care; learning and spending time together; the role of communication; being available; and mutual acceptance. The results provide insight into the unique evolution of the African American mother-daughter relationship and provide a theoretical foundation for understanding how this relationship develops, evolves, and is maintained. Mental health clinicians who read this study may gain greater awareness of and sensitivity toward African American mother-daughter relationships, as well as insight into how these fluid relationships function. By applying this knowledge to their practice, they may support clients' healthy personal development and interpersonal growth.