Multiple roles, multiple lives: the protective effects of role responsibilities on the health functioning of African American mothers

Women Health. 2009 Mar-May;49(2-3):144-63. doi: 10.1080/03630240902915051.


Using data from 747 rural African American mothers, this study incorporated role accumulation theory to test direct and indirect effects of stressors, coping behaviors, and role responsibilities on health functioning. Results indicated that demands emerging from financial strain were related to compromised mental health and decreases in mothers' use of effective coping strategies and role responsibility engagement. Conversely, mothers who effectively responded to stressors and fulfilled responsibilities to their children and communities experienced enhanced mental health, which in turn promoted optimal physical health. The results can inform research and intervention with African American women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Psychological Theory
  • Role*
  • Rural Health
  • Social Responsibility*
  • Stress, Psychological* / economics
  • Women's Health / ethnology*
  • Young Adult