Powerlessness, anger, and stress in African American women: implications for physical and emotional health

Health Care Women Int. 2009 Jan-Feb;30(1-2):93-113. doi: 10.1080/07399330802523709.


African American women find themselves at a high risk of experiencing feelings of powerlessness associated with socioeconomic disparities rooted in a history of racism and sexism. The authors present a conceptual model that discusses powerlessness as a significant variable that contributes to the experience of anger and stress in African American women, and consequently to the adverse health consequences of such anger and stress. The authors review the current literature as well as census and health statistics to discern critical historical, social, and cognitive aspects of powerlessness and anger in African American women. Implications for practitioners are addressed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Anger*
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology
  • Cultural Characteristics*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Mental Health*
  • Stress, Psychological / ethnology*
  • United States
  • Women's Health