Coping with Depression in Single Black Mother s

Rahshida Atkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Very little information exists in the literature about what black women do when they experience symptoms of depression. The purpose of this descriptive study was to analyze the responses of 208 community-residing black single mothers, aged 18 to 45, to an open-ended question asking, "What do you do to feel better when you are feeling down in the dumps?" The theoretical bases of the Ways of Coping Checklist, were used to facilitate categorizing their responses into a coping scale and then a particular coping profile. Percentages were used to categorize the frequency of the responses into the respective coping scale and to categorize the frequency of the combined responses of each woman into a respective coping profile. Of the 333 responses that the women provided, 327 were useable. Findings indicated that a majority of responses fell into the Escape-Avoidance category (n = 206; 63%), followed by the Seeking Social Support (n = 60, 18.3%), Positive Reappraisal (n = 40; 12.2%), Planful Problem Solving (n = 12; 3.7%), Distancing (n = 3; 1%), and Self-Controlling (n = 6; 1.8%) categories. No responses fit the Confrontive Coping or Accepting Responsibility categories and none of the responses indicated that the women sought professional help. Of the 176 women who provided answers to the study question, more than half (64.2%; n = 113) gave only emotion-focused responses, 2.8% (n = 5) gave only problem-focused responses, 2.8% (n = 5) gave mixed responses, and 30.2% (n = 53) reported social support seeking. Implications for future research, cultural theory, and nursing practice are addressed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-181
Number of pages10
JournalIssues in mental health nursing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 3 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Phychiatric Mental Health


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