Date of Conferral



Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social Work


Lakisha Mearidy-Bell


AbstractAfrican American women encounter obstacles that diminish the effectiveness of mental health treatment received through postsecondary school-based service. Consequently, there is a reduction in the population’s socioeconomic outcomes. The purpose of the study was to increase awareness of the mental health treatment experience of African American women and identify strategies that would be helpful to prepare African American women for the postsecondary setting. Black feminist theory was used to guide the research questions for the study, which examined the experiences of African American female students and identified strategies used by certified school social workers, that African American women thought prepared them for postsecondary transition. Semistructured narrative interviews were used to screen and collect data from 11 participants. Participants were African American women, a minimum of 18 years old, educated in the local magnet school district, and worked with a school social worker. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the transcribed interviews. Results show participants experienced adequate support from school social worker regarding their financial transitions. However, there was limited support pertaining to the social emotional transition. African American female students may benefit by learning about their intersectionality, barriers to successful transition, and skills to overcome barriers. This knowledge may support positive social change as African American females could be better prepared to address challenges associated with the social emotional transition to postsecondary settings.

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