Aging And Systems Within The African American Community And The Discrimination They Face Asu Foundation Practice Essay

2148 words - 9 pages

1
1
Aging and Systems: The Development of a Black Single Mother
Rachel Adams
SWG 502: Macro Human Behavior in a Social Environment
“Depression is a complexity of symptoms such as feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, loss of appetite, psychomotor retardation, feelings of worthlessness and guilt, and sleep disturbances” (Atkins, 2015). Depression is a serious problem that does not discriminate and is especially common among black single mothers like Ms. Adkins. Although depression is high among single mothers, it is particularly prevalent among African American single mothers where 47% to 70% report mild to severe depression (Atkins, 2015). This paper will explore the history of depression in the developing life of Ms. Adkins, a 70yr old African-American woman who I met through a colleague of mine and was open to discussing her honest life experience through the lenses of a black single mother who suffers from depression. This paper will also discuss the barriers she faced to quality mental health and Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development.
According to the 2011 US Census Bureau, 72% of black mothers are unmarried. Historically, Black women have a long history of being associated with single motherhood (Gray, 2015). Ms. Adkins talked a bit about her family history and threw in how much colonization and slavery can be connected to the deconstruction of the Black family unit where Black men were dehumanized while black women were separated with their family. The black women in Ms. Adkins’ family were mostly unmarried so she did not see too many father figures present. “While it is important to note that some Black mothers are single by choice for a variety of reasons, Black families are impacted by disparities in education, mass incarceration, and lack of jobs for black men” (Ruggles, 1994). This put Ms. Adkins in the position of a matriarch of the family and act as both man and woman while her efforts and femininity were devalued which affected her relationship with self, her children, and those around her. She grew up knowing that as a black single mother, no matter how hard she worked to build and keep her family together, her efforts would still go unnoticed and underappreciated.
There are a number of stressors that single mothers face that contribute to their depression. However, most of the research done specific to African American single mothers mostly talk about poverty and the absence of the Black man in the home and neglect to discuss other hardships they experience that contribute to depression. A sample of 50 single mothers were selected to explore social, emotional, and economic issues they face (Katwol &Prabhakar, 2005). Although, finances was the number one cause of stress, 72 % of the women were affected by their lack of confidence, 46 % by their lack of identity, and 80% by their monotonous routine, lack of social life and loneliness (Katwol &Prabhakar, 2005). Ms. Adkins had learned over time, that with all that she has gone through in life, it has shaped who she is today and how she “moves through the world”.
Social support or lack thereof is also a contributor of depression in single Black mothers. A sample of 188 single Black employed and unemployed mothers of pre school children in New York City were studied to determined the effects of social support in parenting (Jackson, 1998). 70% of the mothers had education beyond high school, 4% had bachelor degrees (Jackson, 1998). Ms. Adkins “at least had a Bachelors degree because I always told myself I would obtain my degree, even as a single mother without much support”. Research found that there is significant association between employment status and educational attainment. As expected, unemployed mothers are more depressed than employed mothers (Jackson, 1998). However, It was also found that instrumental support and the presence of the grandmother in the home lead to more child behavior problems which caused the mom significant parental stress (Jackson, 1998).
A study of 208 Black single mothers showed that “anger had the most powerful direct effect on depression and perceived racism had the most powerful direct relationship on anger (Atkins, 2015).” With 47% to 70% of Black single mothers feeling depressed. Accessing mental health services could decrease these symptoms and other impairments in functioning. Although Blacks are more likely to report symptoms of depression, they are less likely than whites to be offered support (Atkins, 2015). Like medical treatment, this shows disparities in access to mental health to communities of color (Atkins, 2015). Ms. Adkins always battled through her depression on her own and unfortunately in the black community, typically, they will not seek help due to the stigma behind it. Lack of professional mental health treatment could also be due to the idea of the “Strong Black Woman” who is rarely given opportunity to be vulnerable. The women in the study report that they are advised and expected to rely on religious and social support to manage depressive symptoms (Atkins, 2015).
On a macro level, race, stereotypes, and class have burdened the Black woman socially and personally. Black women are seen in a lot of different ways with the most common being the “strong black woman” and the “welfare queen” (Dow, 2014). The “strong black woman” characterizes a woman with an unlimited and an uncommon amount of strength. This woman is not vulnerable, independent, and bears the weight of the world on her shoulders with grace. The “welfare queen” was used by Regan to describe an unwed, lazy black woman who did nothing but receive benefits to support herself and her children (Dow, 2014). This image mobilized oppression for black women receiving aid and influenced policies such as the Personal Responsibility and Work Act of 1996 or welfare to work (Dow, 2014).
These “controlling images have influenced mainstream perceptions of African American women and the formulation of government policies directly affecting the lives of poor and working-class African American women” (Dow, 2014). These images also affect black women who have internalized these beliefs and struggle everyday to find a medium. Strong black women, like Ms. Adkins, aren’t allowed to be vulnerable or depressed, therefore keeping feelings of grief to themselves. While women receiving aid are shamed and feel guilty, embarrassed and unworthy. Battling these forced but unwanted identities causes conflict within Black women.
Erikson’s eight stages of psychosocial development from infancy to adulthood, explains how crisis at each stage could affect an individual’s personality development (Hutchison, 2015). He puts much emphasis on how culture and society impacts an individual’s sense of self and how those experiences cause conflict within the ego (Hutchison, 2015). The eight stages are Trust vs. Mistrust (infancy), Autonomy vs. Shame (early childhood), Initiative vs. Guilt (preschool), Industry vs. Inferiority (school age), Identity vs. Role Confusion (adolescence), Intimacy vs. Isolation (early adulthood), Generativity vs. Stagnation (adulthood) , and Ego vs. Despair (maturity) (Hutchison, 2015). Most of the studies that focus on Black women mostly focus on women between the ages of 18-45. This age range covers Identity vs. Role Confusion, Guilt Intimacy vs. Isolation, and Generativity vs. Stagnation.
During the stage of Identity vs Role Confusion, the individual is exploring themselves through identity, values, goals and beliefs as they have gotten older. This is the stage when Ms. Adkins is becoming more independent and has some insight into who she is and what she has accomplished as a black single mother. She is exploring different roles, wants to be accepted and is trying establish stronger relationships with family and friends. Failure to establish a sense of identity during this stage may lead to an identity crisis, which may cause depression. This woman in particular, has found that “being older can be lonely at times” but she has plenty of visits from her grandkids which she states “sometimes helps to have company even though I enjoy my alone time”.
The two identities Black women seem to struggle with most are that of the “Welfare Queen” and the “Strong Black Woman”. Ms. Adkins explained her grief with trying to overcome these identities that they are poor, lazy women who live off of welfare at the same time of battling the image of being so resilient and independent that they do not need support. Black single mothers experience guilt and shame when they do receive welfare and are vigilant to not look poor or “ghetto” (Dow, 2015). Ms. Adkins also experienced a lot of stress when she invested in being the strong black woman and often felt guilt when asking for help. Black single mothers also feel a “sense of exclusion from white middle-class communities (Dow, 2015)”.
During the stage of intimacy vs. isolation, the individual explores intimacy, relationships and long-term commitments. If the individual succeeds during this stage, they can experience happiness, satisfaction and commitment. Some conflict in this stage may cause fear of rejection, isolation, pain, loneliness, and depression.
One of the leading causes of depression in Black women is lack of social support from family and friends. Often times, Black women feel rejected and do not think that they will experience commitment and love due to the stigma that they are unstable, or too strong and independent for companionship (Hitchens & Payne, 2017). This is a belief that Ms. Adkins internalized and felt as if something is wrong with her or that it is something about her that prevents meaningful, long-term relationships. Now, in her old age, she often contemplates “what it would have been like to really experience love and support from the children’s father and also from family”.
Research investigations have shown that Black women reside at the root of race, class, and gender intersection and are more likely to have poor health outcomes, specifically depression (Copeland & Snyder, 2011). Disparities in access to mental health care, as well as the quality of treatment continue to disproportionately affect people of color (Atkins, 2016). Observable barriers to quality treatment may include lack of community resources, transportation, childcare, convenient hours, and financial resources. Intangible barriers may include perceptions of mental health treatment and service due to experiences, lack of knowledge of services, and inadequate support (Atkins, 2016).
The Ecological System Analysis and Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development need to be considered to address depression in Black single mothers. Social Workers should be culturally aware when working with older black women to address the many layers that cause depression. There should also be more support groups catered to black women. As stated above, black mothers lack emotional and social support and having a support group could provide a healthy outlet and meaningful relationships (Broussard at el, 2012). Advocates could educate employers and welfare social workers about how they create systems of oppression for black women by lack of flexibility. They could educate them on the barriers many black women face when it comes to inflexible work and school schedules, inconsistent child care, inadequate health care, and transportation (Broussard at el, 2012). On a macro level, advocates could reduce stigmatization by educating and urging media outlets to debunk the myths of single Black mothers by using correct and positive images of these mothers (Broussard at el, 2012).
References
Anderson, P., & Levine, P. (2000). Childcare and mothers’ employment decisions. In D. Card & Blank (Eds.), Finding jobs: Work and welfare reform (pp. 420–462). New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.
Atkins, R. (2015). Depression in black single mothers. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 37(6), 812-830. doi:10.1177/0193945914528289
Atkins, R. (2016). Coping with depression in single black mothers. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 37(3), 172-181. doi:10.3109/01612840.2015.1098760
Broussard, C. A., Joseph, A. L., & Thompson, M. (2012). Stressors and coping strategies used by single mothers living in poverty. Affilia, 27(2), 190-204. dos 10.1177/0886109912443884
Coiro, M. (2001). Depressive symptoms among women receiving welfare. Women & Health, 32, 1–23
Copeland, V. C., & Snyder, K. (2010). Barriers to mental health treatment services for low-income african american women whose children receive behavioral health services: an ethnographic investigation. Social Work in Public Health, 26(1), 78-95.doi:10.1080/10911350903341036
Dow, D. M. (2015). Negotiating “The Welfare Queen” and “The Strong Black Woman”. Sociological Perspectives, 58(1), 36-55. doi:10.1177/0731121414556546
Gray, A. (n.d.). A Thesis on Black Single Motherhood...From Slavery and Beyond. Retrieved February 10, 2017, from https://www.academia.edu/5595066/ A_Thesis_On_Black_Single_Motherhood_From_Slavery_and_Beyond
Hitchens, B. K., & Payne, Y. A. (2017). “Brenda’s Got a Baby”. Journal of Black Psychology, 43(1), 50-76. doi:10.1177/0095798415619260
Hutchison, E. D. (2015). Dimensions of Human Behavior: The changing life course (5th
ed.). Los Angeles, CA: SAGE.
Kotwal, N., & Prabhakar, B. (2009). Problems faced by single mothers. Social Science, 21(3), 197-204. Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/9b8d
Lee, S. (2004). Women’s work supports, job retention, and job mobility. Research in Brief (B244). Washington, DC: Institute for Women’s Policy Research
Matthews, H. (2006). Child care assistance helps families work: A review of the effects of subsidy receipt on employment. Washington, DC: Center for Law and Social Policy.
Ruggles, S. (1994). The origins of african-american family structure. American Sociological Review, 59(1), 136. doi:10.2307/2096137

RELATED

Summary of Black Panther and how it relates to the African Diaspora - African American Diaspora - essay

1846 words - 8 pages recognize. This awareness of the African Diaspora is what Wakanda needs and gains from him in order to realize their ethical views and thoughts on the outside world and its struggles. Wakandans needed Killomonger to help push the panafricanist movement because Wakandans were not so much connected with the black community around the world because they did not know they were a part of a larger community that were being oppressed since centuries ago

Explain the types of economic systems and what they do - Economics - Essay

998 words - 4 pages Economic systems Everyday of the year, people across our country and every other country around the world make decisions as buyers and seekers, workers and business owners. All of their collective decisions makeup a nation’s economic system. Around the world, there are a variety of economic systems some of which are Command Systems, Market Systems , and Traditional System. A traditional economy is a system that replies on customs, time honored

The essay for AWS and the history of african american - Banner / aws - essay

970 words - 4 pages Kya Tarver AWS 5 - 4 - 18 Cultural Expression African Culture: African Dances Cultural dances play a huge role in cultural expression with all cultures. These forms of dance are usually used to teach things, such as moral values and social etiquette. They actually play an even bigger role in African society than others. In African culture, majority of every African dance generally occupy the African continent. Usually these dances are filled

Vampires: The Ever-changing Face of Fear and Desire - English 1500-06 - Essay

1708 words - 7 pages of anything that walks and talks. Despite the fact that the vampire has changed over the course of many years, some things just do not change. That something is they are and have been the face of both fear and desire. Everyone the vampires felt safe around, knows who they are in contact with and how dangerous it can be; but for some reason, humans cannot resist being in the company and presence of a vampire. What is comically ironic is that one

Stereotypes and Racism: The Impact They Have on African Americans - Las Positas College; English 1A - Reasearch Paper

1614 words - 7 pages Addy de Leon Kisha Quesada Turner English 1A 17 December 2018 Stereotypes and Racism: The Impact They Have on African Americans Stereotypes are preconceived notions, especially about a group of people. Many of these stereotypes are racist, sexist and homophobic. Stereotypes can and do damage reputations of people and their cultural background, this is extremely prevalent in the African American community. Stereotypes and generalizations about

Discrimination and The Salem Witch Trials

419 words - 2 pages place?If found guilty, the women/men were hung, burned, tormented, humilated, and were sentenced to prison. If the victims weren't put to death, and they went to jail, they would suffer extremecondiations. they would freeze and be starved. There were actually some who died while still in prison due to those dramatic state of affairs.Who practiced the discrimination?Although some of the men or women admitted to practing witchcraft, they were killed

The Impact and Legacy of Ida B. Wells - African American (AFRAM - 31) - Reflective paper assignment

1039 words - 5 pages Ida B. Wells Reflective Essay At the end of the civil war in 1865, blacks were finally set free. They were given the right to marry, raise children, own property, and be protected by law. However, it was clear as time progressed that the promises given from whites unto blacks in regards to freedom were constantly being infringed upon. Soon these said freedoms were to be non-existent. That is where pioneers such as Ida B. Wells, an activist

How did Americans face the struggles of industrial America? - Middletown high - American studies - Essay

435 words - 2 pages Informative Essay I am writing about spider-man. Spider-mans real name is peter parker. Peter was an ordinary boy. He lived in New York City with his Aunt May and Uncle Ben. Peter often dreamed of being a superhero. Peter Parker was a student at Midtown High school. He was very clever and worked hard at his lessons. He always got good marks and his favorite subject was science. Peter was a quiet, shy boy did not have many friends. He was not

Radicalism Within The Leveller And Ormée

1984 words - 8 pages grievances and put them on the path of what they believed would be a more peaceful and financially successful existence.Both radical in their times, the Levellers of England and the Ormée of Bordeaux, France shared a number of core beliefs that included popular sovereignty, the abolishment of part or all of parliament/parlement, and relief from taxes. To achieve these goals, both appealed to the masses. The Levellers issued numerous pamphlets

The American Dream For The mice of men book and movie and how they are connected - La eassy - eassy

659 words - 3 pages able to work a job even if they are not of the white community. Fitzgerald and Steinbeck both are trying to tell audience that people can fight for the American Dream but it can never successfully completed. In Anna Quindlen’s essay shows how there are a lot of different kinds of people that work in making the country greater they can try to achieve, but may fail and things them from achieving their American Dream. Frist off Of Mice and Men

The American Dream and It's Effect on Me - Central Piedmont Community College, English 112 - Free Write Essay

557 words - 3 pages government and religious persecution. So they created and ideology that would change the world as the world we know it now. This ideology was called The American Dream. After many years the American Dream evolved from a simple idea to a way of life. In the ghetto the American Dream could be derived from illegal ways. Rather in well-rounded community the American Dream could be derived from struggle in a legal way. In my kind of community, an arab

How the American society needs to change the way they consume daily news and media - Reagan High School (sophmore year) - essay

855 words - 4 pages Kylie Dean Ms. Newberg English II pre-ap 05 April 2018 Consuming News Wake up! Biased news doesn’t open readers’ eyes, but rather makes them blind! An internet user scrolls down Facebook and sees a political news argument that seems interesting. They click and open it onto their computer dashboard. The news article opens up, and it’s bashing Trump and exaggerated the bad things he has done in life. The statements made by the news article

"Out Of The Bag" and "The Back Seat Of My Mother's Car" - Central Foundation Girls School - essay

1211 words - 5 pages as shown through the lack of vocabulary when he speaks of the doctor in which his ‘fur-lined leather collar’ was ‘spaniel coloured’ describing the collar as spaniel coloured suggests the narrator did not have the capability nor the knowledge to name the colour specifically and instead uses references to objects they already know which is perhaps typical behaviour associated with children, additionally the childlike tone of the poem is consistent

What Problems Did The Weimar Republic Face Between 1919 And 1923?

529 words - 3 pages from taking power. He tried to call the army, but as most of them had been fighting on the border with Russia in WW1, they had received Communist propaganda, and so were sympathetic to their cause. Friedrich Ebert had to call in help from the Freikorps, a group of soldiers who were angry at the defeat of the Germans, and wanted to fight more. They hated the founders of the Weimar Republic, but they hated communists even more. By the 13th January

Explain how an illness, disease or trauma can affect body systems - Health and Social Care Foundation - Anatomy and psychology

2140 words - 9 pages social well being of the patient, also what psychological and physical processes they may face when having to deal with a debilitating condition. I will also suggest what physiological factor may occur to not only the patient but also their relatives and relationships. Within this essay I will be using a case study who I will refer to as Bill, I will do this to respect confidentiality; this is important for university standards Data Protection Act