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  • Thumbnail for The Strong Black Woman Schema: A Cultural Contributor to Depression
    The Strong Black Woman Schema: A Cultural Contributor to Depression by Jackson-Bartelmus, Zora

    Black women in American society hold the disadvantaged social positioning of intersecting oppressions that stem from gender, race and often class. This has consequences as this population demonstrates a wide variety of negative health outcomes that are not seen in other such marginalized groups. Using the social determinants of health theoretical framework to help shed light on the fundamental causes of negative health outcomes that fall along the lines of race, gender, and socioeconomic status, this study looks at the role of the Strong Black Woman Schema on Black women’s mental health. This stereotype, to the extent that it is adopted, binds these women to the confines of emotional invulnerability, self-reliance, self-sacrifice, and caretaking, causing them to neglect their own needs and exacerbating negative health outcomes. This schema, when compared to the other more explicitly denigrating stereotypes of Black women, is perceived as laudable and as the only avenue to their respectability. I argue that this factor, the Strong Black Woman schema, or SBW, when internalized, acts as a cultural mechanism through which stress becomes embodied as the symbol of strength and will be associated with heightened prevalence of depressive symptoms. Using an online survey, 110 self-identifying Black women attending four-year undergraduate colleges and universities across the country were recruited via purposive sampling, given the targeted population of concern. Findings showed that variation in depression scores in young Black women can be partially explained by the internalization of the SBW schema, and that the internalization of this schema is associated with income and one’s level of religiosity.

  • Thumbnail for Can An Increase In Mental Health Resources Decrease Crime Rates? A County-Level Analysis
    Can An Increase In Mental Health Resources Decrease Crime Rates? A County-Level Analysis by Di Filippo, Leah

    The increase in the incarceration rate and the decrease of mental institutions led to a disproportionate amount of offenders with mental illnesses. Current literature has explored the effect of mental health treatment on offenders in order to reduce recidivism, but the relationship between the level of mental health resources and crime rates in general has yet to be researched. This paper investigates this relationship at a county-level for the continental United States in order to address this break in literature. Mental health, criminological, and economic data are combined to illustrate a complete representation of the relationship between the availability of mental health resources and the crime rate. Both the total county crime rate and the county violent crime rate are analyzed in context of this relationship. This study concludes that both the total county crime rate and the county violent crime rate are marginally positively correlated with a lack of mental health resources. While the findings do not represent a large effect, this study proves that there is a significant relationship between crime rates and mental health resources.