Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Human Development and Family Studies

First Advisor

Daniel W. Russell


In the African American community, women are the core that holds families together. These women consistently serve in multiple roles within their unique family structures. Like many women, African American women often overextend themselves and become highly involved within the lives of their loved ones, in a manner in which they take on family members' events, issues, and emotions as if they were their own experiences, especially the experiences of their children. This can be problematic for African American women because it can adversely affect their health, especially their mental health. The current study examined the relationship between child life events and the depression levels of African American maternal caregivers. Using a longitudinal study, the Family and Community Health Study (FACHS), hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted, which identified one specific category of life events (risky behaviors) and three individual life events (being suspended from school, having a friend become ill or injured, and having a friend die) experienced by the target child, were found to predict increases in maternal depression levels. Findings from this study contribute to the literature on African American women's mental health. Understanding the stress caused by one's child engaging in behaviors that threaten their future health and well-being is important, and can assist social service providers in developing developmentally and culturally appropriate strategies for working with this population.


Copyright Owner

Meneka Johnson



File Format


File Size

55 pages