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Liao, Kelly Yu-Hsin


The Strong Black Woman (SBW) ideal depicts someone who is nurturing, self-reliant, hides their emotions, and strong willed (Nelson, Cardemil, & Adeoye, 2016). This ideal is associated with psychological distress, low self-esteem, and chronic health conditions (Thomas, Witherspoon, & Speight, 2004). We hypothesized a serial mediation model wherein SBW would be associated with maladaptive perfectionism (MP), which would be associated with low self-compassion, in turn leading to negative psychological outcomes (depression, anxiety, and loneliness). Two hundred and thirtyseven female African American undergraduate students participated in the online survey. Results from structural equation modeling supported the hypothesized serial mediation model. All the paths were significant except for the path from SBW to MP and to loneliness. The study’s clinical implications highlight the importance of creating coping strategies for MP and to cultivate SBW’s self-compassion.

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College of Education and Human Services


Counseling, Administration, Supervision, and Adult Learning

The Harmful Effects of the Strong Black Women Ideal: A Mediation Model