Date of Award

Summer 8-21-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

PhD Counseling Psychology

Department

Professional Psychology and Family Therapy

Advisor

Laura Palmer, Ph.D

Committee Member

John Smith, Ed.D

Committee Member

Eunyoung Kim, Ph.D

Committee Member

Ben Beitin, Ph.D

Committee Member

Elaine Walker, Ph.D

Keywords

Bicultural stress, adults, depression, social support, education, African descent, mental health

Abstract

Studies investigating the bicultural experiences of people of African descent are significantly underrepresented in the literature. The primary purpose of this exploratory study was to examine the relationship between experiences of bicultural stress and mental well-being. In investigating this relationship, perceived social support and education were examined as protective factors, and its relationship to bicultural stress for this population. With the ultimate goal of this information contributing to the understanding of bicultural processes within this population and the relationship to mental health outcomes. A non-experimental (non-randomized) research design was utilized to examine the study research questions and hypotheses. The participants include self-identified bicultural adults of African descent. Correlational and regression analyses indicated that in the study’s sample: (a) bicultural stress was related to symptoms of depression, perceived social support and education, (b) symptoms of depression were correlated with bicultural stressors, (c) social support and education served as protective factors against endorsement of depressive symptoms, (d) social support and education were correlated. The findings from this study may help to elucidate mental health outcomes as it relates to bicultural experiences among people of African descent. The findings may also serve to highlight culturally-sensitive approaches and information that better inform psychologists and health practitioners in serving this population. Furthermore, the findings of this study supports continued research that seeks to address the bicultural experiences of this diverse subgroup as it relates to mental health outcomes.

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