Date of Conferral







Carolyn King


African American (AA) women have the highest rates of obesity and weight-related diseases of any other cultural group in the United States. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between acceptance of the Strong Black Woman (SBW) cultural construct and the following weight-related health factors: body mass index (BMI), high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes mellitus (DM). The hypothesis was that a positive relationship exists between accepting the SBW persona and weight-related health factors. The theory of womanism was used to guide this study. Convenience sampling was used to recruit 127 AA women to participant in an online survey. Descriptive statistical analysis was performed on the demographics. Multiple regression analysis was conducted to evaluate the research questions. The affect and regulation subscale from the Strong Black Woman Cultural Construct Scale was used to measure mental and emotional strength. Willingness to ask for help was measured using the General Help Seeking questionnaire original version. The Emotional Eating Scale measured eating behaviors in response to anger, frustration, depression, and depressed mood. The Perceived Stress Scale measured perceived stress. The results of the analyses revealed that mental and emotional strength were significantly related to BMI and high blood pressure. There was no significant relationship found between mental and emotional strength and heart disease, stroke, and DM. This study could provide useful information for future weight management treatment for AA women. Positive social change is implied because understanding weight gain in this population may help to decrease the incidences of obesity and associated weight-related illnesses.