Date of Award

12-2010

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Lizabeth Roemer

Second Advisor

John Perez

Third Advisor

Alice Carter

Abstract

Anxiety disorders are among the most frequently diagnosed mental disorders in the United States, and research suggests that Black individuals experience anxiety at equal rates when compared to other racial groups. While we know that anxiety occurs in Black populations, there is limited research about the stressors that may contribute to the development and/or maintenance of anxiety symptoms in this population and factors that may buffer the impact of these stressors. Research suggests that racism may be one of these stressors and that church-based social support may serve as a buffer. The experience of racism has been linked to many psychological and physical health difficulties and a poorer quality of life in Black populations. Historically, the church has been an important religious and social establishment in the Black Community and has served as a protective factor for Black individuals suffering from the experience of racism.

Forty-one participants completed a questionnaire packet containing measures of anxiety, church-based social support, and experience and appraisal of racist events. Results provided preliminary evidence for the proposed association between racist experiences and anxiety symptoms in Black individuals at low levels of church-based social support. Specifically, in the current sample, at low levels of social support, appraisal of racist events and stress were significantly positively associated. The clinical implications of these findings and future research directions are also discussed.

Comments

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