Resilience and its role in the perception of stress and psychosomatic symptoms in African Americans

Mario V Norman, Tennessee State University


Research literature indicates that stress has been associated with many diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and substance abuse, among others, in which African Americans are more susceptible than other populations within the United States. Stress has also been associated with homicide and suicide, which are occurring in disproportionately high numbers in African-American communities (Outlaw, 1993). In contrast, there is limited research to support successful coping styles by African Americans. More problematically, the destructive effects of racism and discrimination on the psychological and somatic health of African Americans have largely been ignored within the research literature (Elligan & Utsey, 1999). Furthermore, there is a rich body of research on resilience as a moderator of stressful events, but much of the literature fails to include African Americans or does not take into consideration their distinctive racial and environmental circumstances (Miller, 1999). This study examined the influence of resilience on the perception of stress and psychosomatic symptoms in African Americans. Additionally, the differences in perceived stress and resilience were compared between African American males and females. This study consisted of 90 participants (25 males, 65 females). Measures in this study were the Perceived Stress Scale, Psychosomatic Complaints Scale of Stress, and the Resilience Scale. Results indicated a negative correlation between resilience and perceived stress and a positive correlation between perceived stress and psychosomatic complaints. However, there was no significant relationship between resilience and psychosomatic complaints. Females reported significantly higher perceived stress than males. Although not significant, females also yielded more psychosomatic complaints. No significant difference was found between males and females in measures of resilience.

Subject Area

Clinical psychology|Physiological psychology|Black studies|African American Studies

Recommended Citation

Mario V Norman, "Resilience and its role in the perception of stress and psychosomatic symptoms in African Americans" (2001). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3024629.