Black Women’s Experiences of Stress and Perceptions of Wellness Activities

Tiyana K Chaney-Taylor, Tennessee State University


Research recently showed that disparities exist between Black women and the general United States population when it came to wellness practices. Black women have experienced stressors in unique ways due to their race and gender. Many of the everyday systemic stressors that Black women have faced could lead to increased occurrences of psychological distress if not dealt with effectively. Mind-Body wellness activities such as yoga, breathwork, and mindfulness have been scientifically proven to help decrease stress. However, Black women have faced barriers that have hindered them from engaging in these types of activities, adding to the wellness disparity. This phenomenological study looked at how ten Black women experienced stress and its resulting consequences. A Black Feminist Thought framework and included Intersectionality lens were used to ensure that participants’ voices were heard, and their experiences viewed as fact. Black women in this study shared their experiences with stress and their views on wellness activities aimed at combating that stress. While many of the participants understood the increased relaxation and benefits of these practices, there were still many barriers to engagement reported. One of the main barriers was ascription to ideal of the Strong Black Woman (SBW) archetype. This inaccurate historical adaptation of strength was noted to increase stress responses for participants. Participants in this study expressed a desire to redefine what a SBW was from their own experiences. The implications for this realization could lead to changes in counseling and effective practices to help Black women combat stress.

Subject Area

Counseling Psychology|Womens studies|Black studies

Recommended Citation

Tiyana K Chaney-Taylor, "Black Women’s Experiences of Stress and Perceptions of Wellness Activities" (2023). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI30425700.