The Internalization of the Strong Black Woman Schema and the Decision to Seek Psychological Help

37095 words (148 pages) Dissertation

13th Dec 2019 Dissertation Reference this

Tags: PsychologyMental HealthPsychiatry

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Table of Contents

List of Tables

List of Figures

Chapter 1: Introduction to the Study

Introduction

Background of the Study

Problem Statement

Purpose of the Study

Research Question(s) and Hypotheses

Advancing Scientific Knowledge

Significance of the Study

Rationale for Methodology

Nature of the Research Design for the Study

Definition of Terms

Assumptions, Limitations, Delimitations

Summary and Organization of the Remainder of the Study

Chapter 2: Literature Review

Introduction to the Chapter and Background to the Problem

Theoretical Foundations and/or Conceptual Framework

Review of the Literature

Summary

Chapter 3: Methodology

Introduction

Statement of the Problem

Research Question(s) or Hypotheses

Research Methodology

Research Design

Population and Sample Selection

Instrumentation OR Sources of Data

Validity

Reliability

Data Collection and Management

Data Analysis Procedures

Ethical Considerations

Limitations and Delimitations

Summary

References

Appendix A. The Parts of a Dissertation

Appendix B. IRB Approval Letter

Appendix C. Informed Consent

Appendix D. Copy of Instruments and Permissions Letters to Use the Instruments

Chapter 1: Introduction to the Study

Introduction

The problem being addressed in this proposed dissertation study is to determine if and to what extent a relationship exists between the Strong Black Woman Schema and help seeking attitudes.  This research is based on the premise that mental health services are underutilized in the Black community but are still present even after controlling for socioeconomic factors (Jimenez, Cook, Bartels, & Alegría, 2013).  Although this underutilization has been noted, there is a lack of literature concerning the role that a cultural factor may play regarding help seeking. This proposed dissertation research will therefore expand the knowledge base of help seeking attitudes and the Strong Black women schema using quantitative measures.

This research will provide a unique perspective because it will utilize data from a range of age groups and diverse backgrounds. Additionally, it explores the possibility of cultural factors, such as gender role schemas, playing a role in the underutilization of mental health services. The results of this research will offer a platform for future research to further evaluate the Strong Black Woman Schema and its relationship to mental health related decision making. Furthermore, this research will provide value to the literature and expand the knowledge base by extending research on the Strong Black Woman schema from a perspective that has not been explored sufficiently.

Chapter 1 provides an introduction and rationale for the need to investigate the relationship between the Strong Black Woman Schema and help seeking attitudes. Additionally, it contains a review of previously conducted empirical research which indicates a knowledge gap in the literature. Further, the purpose statement for this study, the research questions, and hypotheses stated for this study are based on Strong Black Woman schema and dimensions of the Inventory of Attitudes Towards Seeking Mental Health Service (MacKenzie et al. 2004).

Each research question focuses on the relationship between domains of the Strong Black Woman Schema and help seeking attitudes. Chapter 1 includes the background of the study, states the research problem and purpose, presents the research questions and hypotheses, and provides the rationale for the research methodology and design. The significance of the study and advancing scientific knowledge are also discussed in Chapter 1. In addition, the researcher defines key terms and discusses the assumptions, limitations, and delimitations of this study. Finally, Chapter 1 concludes with a brief summary.

Criterion

*(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
Introduction

This section provides a brief overview of the research focus or problem, explains why this study is worth conducting, and discusses how this study will be completed. (Minimum three to four paragraphs or approximately one page)

Dissertation topic is introduced and value of conducting the study is discussed.
Discussion provides an overview of what is contained in the chapter.
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format.
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

Background of the Study

Numerous researchers have suggested that the SBW schema can be traced to slavery and persists due to the hardships that Black women experience, such as financial hardship and primary caretaking (Romero, 2002; Thomas, Witherspoon & Speight, 2004). The capture and subsequent enslavement of Africans thrust them into an unfamiliar context and culture. However, many Africans were able to retain their cultural norms and values as Rodgers-Rose (1980) points out in her overview of the history of Black women. Consequently, many of the social norms of African womanhood were passed down within the new cultural context of slavery and servitude.
Accordingly, Black women descended from women who maintained heavy work ethics and independence (Robinson, 1983). Thus, the context of slavery potentially exacerbated the traits of independence and strength. Due to the possibility that a slave’s family could be dismantled and disrupted at any time, Black women had little opportunity to create strong ties with those other than her children. Additionally, Black men also had little opportunity to effectively protect their women or their families. As a result, these factors necessitated the Black woman’s need to rely on herself.

During slavery, Black women found themselves not only responsible for taking care of their own families and children in the community, but also taking on the role of caretaking in the slave master’s household (Rodgers-Rose, 1980). Performing the primary caretaking roles in the slave master’s household called for meant frequent contact with the master’s family. It is this recurring contact that may have contributed to the development of a third component of the Strong Black Woman schema: a need to control the expression of negative feelings.

Throughout slavery, the Black woman may have developed a façade to mask the true feelings associated with the subservient position as an enslaved person. Robinson (1983) details the ways the enslaved African woman suffered abuse, exploitation and oppression at the hands of her enslavers. Not only was she expected to perform the same back breaking work as a man, for as long as a man, but she was also subject to sexual abuse, physical violence and the constant threat of the disintegration of her family at the behest of her enslavers. Black women in captivity did not have the opportunity to express all the pain, anger and negative emotions that resulted from their societal position. Therefore, concealing their true feelings may have developed as a coping mechanism in response to the double bind of experiencing abuse and oppression while simultaneously having to mask emotional vulnerability.

As a result of the genesis in slavery, the SBW schema relies heavily on a discourse of strength. The discourse of strength mirrors the primary factors of caretaking, self-reliance, and affect regulation as identified by Romero (2000) and validated in a scale by Thompson (2003) and Hamin (2008). The concept of strength, although generally acknowledged and accepted within the Black cultural context as positive (Watson & Hunter, 2014), can also be associated with detrimental psychological outcomes for those attempting to embody this ideal (Donovan & West, 2015).

Further research regarding the association of health outcomes along with the intersection of race and gender has received qualitative investigation (Abrams, Maxwell, Pope, & Belgrave, 2014; Thomas, Hoxha, & Hacker, 2013). Although research was conducted, both Abrams, Maxwell, Pope, and Belgrave (2014) and Watson and Hunter (2015) identified the need for future studies to assess the relationship between the internalization of the Strong Black Woman Schema and help seeking behaviors among various socioeconomic, educational, partnered/marital, and regional backgrounds.

Criterion

*(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
Background of the Study

The background section explains both the history of and the present state of the problem and research focus. It identifies the “gap” or “need” based on a summary of the current literature and discusses how the study will address that “gap” or “need.” (Minimum two to three paragraphs or approximately one page)

Provides a summary of results from the prior empirical research on the topic and identifies the need as defined by the prior research which this current study will address.
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format.
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

Problem Statement

It is not known if and to what extent there is a relationship between the internalization of the Strong Black Woman schema and help seeking attitudes. Given that the core expectations of the SBW schema include strength, self-silence, and self-reliance, Black women may feel that seeking psychological help is inconsistent with their culture. Although prior studies show that there is a negative link between the Strong Black Woman Schema and depression in middle class Black women, quantitative studies have not been conducted regarding attitudes towards seeking help (Offut, 2013).

This research will add to the body of knowledge regarding minorities and mental health behaviors. Various studies have attempted to determine causation for the lack of utilization in the Black community (Hines, Cooper, & Shi, 2017; Jang, Park, Kang, & Chiriboga, 2014; Lee, Xiu, Spira, & Lee, 2014; Lindsey, Chambers, Pohle, Beall, & Lucksted, 2013). Additionally, previously conducted research containing Black women has documented an association between the internalization of the SBW schema and psychological distress, low self-esteem, chronic health conditions, and participation in risky sexual behaviors (Brown,Webb-Bradley, Cobb, Spaw,  & Aldridge, 2014; Lewis & Neville, 2015; Woods-Giscombé, Lobel, Zimmer, Wiley Cené, & Corbie-Smith, 2015). However, despite the research mental health services are still being underutilized by Blacks.

Mackezie et al. (2014) stated that due to the fact mental health services are still being underutilized researchers must continuously develop understandings of help seeking attitudes as a means of improving access to professional treatment. Ultimately, this research is important because it will assist clinicians in understanding the cultural barriers holding Black women back from seeking help. Additionally, investigating the relationship between this iconic identity and psychological health can help inform relevant research and interventions with Black women.

Criterion

*(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
Problem Statement

This section includes the problem statement, the population affected, and how the study will contribute to solving the problem. This section is summarized in Chapter 3. This section of Chapter 1 should be a minimum of three to four paragraphs with citations from empirical research articles to support statements. (Minimum three or four paragraphs or approximately one page)

States the specific problem proposed for research by presenting a clear declarative statement that begins with “It is not known if and to what degree/extent…” (quantitative) ~or~ or “It is not known how/why and…” (qualitative)
Identifies the general population affected by the problem.
Suggests how the study may contribute to solving the problem.
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format.
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this quantitative correlational research is to determine to what extent a relationship exists between the Strong Black Woman race-gender schema and mental health seeking attitudes in 119 Black women aged 18-65 in a Southern region in the United States of America. This study will address that problem by assessing the relationship between the Strong Black Woman Schema and help seeking attitudes along each of the measurement subscales.

The independent variable of the Strong Black Woman race-gender schema will be defined as the internalization of the cultural values of self-silence, self-reliance, and affect regulation (Hamin, 2008). The dependent variable of attitudes towards mental health and help seeking will be defined as psychological openness, help-seeking propensity, and indifference to stigma (MacKenzie, 2004) in Black women. Investigating the relationship between the Strong Black Woman schema and help seeking attitudes in particular fills an important gap in the psychological literature (Abrams, Maxwell, Pope & Belgrave, 2014; Nelson, Cardemil, & Adeoye ,2016; Watson & Hunter, 2015). Further, doing this through a cultural lens could provide further information on the unique influences of a cultural construct on help seeking in Black populations.

Criterion

*(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

The purpose statement section expands on the problem statement and identifies how the study will be accomplished. It explains how the proposed study will contribute to the field. This section is summarized in Chapter 3. (Minimum two to three paragraphs)

Presents a declarative statement: “The purpose of this study is….” that identifies the research methodology and design, population, variables (quantitative) or phenomena (qualitative) to be studied and geographic location.
Identifies research methodology as qualitative, quantitative, or mixed, and identifies the specific research design.
Describes the target population and geographic location for the study.
Quantitative: Defines the variables, relationship of variables, or comparison of groups.

Qualitative: Describes the nature of the phenomena to be explored.

Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format.
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

 

Research Question(s) and Hypotheses

The independent and dependent variables for this study are as follows:

Independent variable: Internalization of the Strong Black Woman Schema

Dependent variable: Help Seeking Attitudes

The research questions and hypotheses for this proposed dissertation study were generated by the research problem: It is not known if or to what extent a relationship exists between the Strong Black Woman race-gender schema and mental health seeking attitudes. Thus, the four specific research questions, with corresponding null and alternative hypotheses, are as follows:

R1: Is there a relationship between internalization of the Strong Black Woman schema and help seeking behaviors?
H01: There is not a significant relationship between internalization of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) and help seeking attitudes as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H1: There is a significant relationship between internalization of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS)  and help seeking attitudes as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
R2: Is there a relationship between the self-reliance domain of the Strong Black Woman schema and psychological openness, help-seeking propensity, and indifference to stigma domains of help seeking attitudes?
H02: There is not a significant relationship between the self-reliance domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) and the psychological openness domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H2: There is a significant relationship between the self-reliance domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) and the psychological openness domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H03: There is not a significant relationship between the self-reliance domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) and the help seeking propensity domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H3: There is a significant relationship between the self-reliance domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS)  and the help seeking propensity domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H04: There is not a significant relationship between the self-reliance domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) and the indifference to stigma domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H4: There is a significant relationship between the self-reliance domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) and the indifference to stigma domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
R3: Is there a relationship between the affect regulation domain of the Strong Black Woman schema and psychological openness, help-seeking propensity, and indifference to stigma domains of help seeking attitudes?
H05: There is not a significant relationship between the affect regulation domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS)  and the psychological openness domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H5: There is a significant relationship between the affect regulation domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) and the psychological openness domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H06: There is not a significant relationship between the affect regulation domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS)  and the help seeking propensity domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H6: There is a significant relationship between the affect regulation domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) and the help seeking propensity domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H07: There is not a significant relationship between the affect regulation domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) and the indifference to stigma domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H7: There is a significant relationship between the affect regulation domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) and the indifference to stigma domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
R4: Is there a relationship between the self-sacrificing domain of the Strong Black Woman schema and psychological openness, help-seeking propensity, and indifference to stigma domains of help seeking attitudes?
H8,0: There is not a significant relationship between the self-sacrifice domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS)  and the psychological openness domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H8: There is a significant relationship between the self-sacrifice domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Cultural Construct Scale (SBWCCS) and the psychological openness domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H09: There is not a significant relationship between the self-sacrifice domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) and the help seeking propensity domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H9: There is a significant relationship between the self-sacrifice domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) and the help seeking propensity domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H010: There is not a significant relationship between the self-sacrifice domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS)  and the indifference to stigma domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H10: There is a significant relationship between the self-sacrifice domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) and the indifference to stigma domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).

Criterion

*(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
Research Question(s) and/or Hypotheses

This section narrows the focus of the study by specifying the research questions to address the problem statement. Based on the research questions, it describes the variables and/or groups and their hypothesized relationship (quantitative study) or the phenomena under investigation (qualitative study). It describes how the research questions are related to the problem statement and how the research questions will facilitate collection of the data needed to answer the research questions. (Minimum two to three paragraphs or approximately one page)

Qualitative Designs: States the research question(s) the study will answer and describes the phenomenon to be studied.

Quantitative Designs: States the research questions the study will answer, identifies the variables, and states the hypotheses (predictive statements) using the format appropriate for the specific design.

This section includes a discussion of the research questions, relating them to the problem statement.
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format.
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

Advancing Scientific Knowledge

This matter needs to be addressed in order to offer insight into this under-researched environment based on a call in the literature (Abrams, Maxwell, Pope & Belgrave, 2014; Nelson, Cardemil, & Adeoye ,2016; Watson & Hunter, 2015).  The proposed research will assist in creating a more informed understanding of the Strong Black Woman schema and its relationship to help seeking. The current study will address this need and knowledge gap in the research literature regarding the potential relationship between the schema and help seeking attitudes across a variety of ages and diverse backgrounds.

Gender schema theory and the theory of planned behavior are being utilized for the purpose of supporting this research. This research may contribute to the gender schema theory by providing data about the way a Black woman’s beliefs about archetypal female traits influence help seeking behaviors. Further, this research may contribute to the theory of planned behavior by providing an understanding of how the SBW gender-race schema mediates the relationship among the participant’s attitude toward the behavior, subjective norms, and perceived behavior control.

Criterion

*(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
ADVANCING SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE

This section specifically describes how the research will advance the body of knowledge on the topic. The study can yield a small step forward in a line of current research, but it must add to the current body of knowledge in the literature in the learner’s program of study. It identifies the “gap” or “need” based on the current literature and discusses how the study will address that “gap” or “need.” This section also identifies the theory(ies) or model(s) that provide the theoretical foundation for the study and how the study will contribute to the research on the theory(ies) or model(s). This section summarizes part of the Background (focused on identifying the “gap” or “need” from the literature) and Theoretical Foundations sections (expanded in Chapter 2). (Minimum two to three paragraphs)

Clearly identifies the “gap” or “need” in the literature that was used to define the problem statement and develop the research questions.
Describes how the study will address the “gap” or “identified need” defined in the literature and contribute to the body of literature.
Identifies the theory(ies) or model(s) that provide the theoretical foundations or conceptual frameworks for the study.
Connects the study directly to the theory and describes how the study will add or extend the theory or model.
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format.
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

Significance of the Study

The contributions of this study would be of interest to scholars in the fields of psychology and counseling fields as well as to practicing managers, particularly in behavioral health practices. Studies on gender schemas and mental health help seeking attitudes, are core areas of research in the field of psychology, to which my study would be significant. The field of psychology has largely considered socioeconomic factors as barriers to the underutilization of mental health services, but seldom explore cultural factors as a barrier (Kim, Cho, Park & Park, 2015; Stepanikova, & Oates, 2017).

The growing interest on identifying predictors of help-seeking such as culture is important (Guo,Nguyen, Weiss, Ngo, & Lau, 2015). Therefore, this proposed study contributes to the literature by considering cultural constructs such as the Strong Black woman gender schema as having a potential relationship to help seeking attitudes. From this perspective, mental health utilization does not stop at having access, but also encompasses the role that culture may play in impacting mental health related decisions.

From a practice standpoint, this study is relevant and timely for the healthcare sector, which is currently in the midst of significant changes in the way patient-care is delivered with a focus on culturally competent care (Betancourt, Green, Carrillo, & Owusu Ananeh-Firempong, 2016). As a result, this research may help clinicians provide more culturally competent care to Black women as well as assist clinicians to better understand attitudes towards mental health in the culture. It is important to understand this phenomenon and the implications of this include improved psychological care for Black women along with increased utilization of mental health care (Allen, Balfour, Bell, & Marmot, 2014).

Criterion

*(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
Significance of the Study

This section identifies and describes the significance of the study and the implications of the potential results based on the research questions, the problem statement, and the hypotheses or the investigated phenomena. It describes how the research fits within and will contribute to the current literature or body of research. It describes potential practical applications from the research. (Minimum three to four paragraphs)

Describes how the proposed research fits within the prior research and how the study will make an academic research contribution in the field of study.
Describes how the study will make a practical contribution in the field of study.
Describes how addressing the problem will add value to the population, community, or society.
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format.
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

Rationale for Methodology

Studies that are conducted to examine and measure the strength of causal or correlational relationships between variables through the statistical analysis of numerical data are best accomplished using quantitative methodologies (Johnson & Christensen, 2012). The present proposed study seeks to quantify the strength of the relationship between the non-manipulated independent variable, internalization of the Strong Black Woman schema, and the dependent variable, help seeking attitudes. In order to meet this objective, this type of research calls for a quantitative approach.

Research has been conducted regarding the SBW gender-race schema and its effects on Black women. However, a vast majority of the research has investigated the phenomenon qualitatively. Groenvald, Tummers, Bronkhorst, Ashkiali, and Thiel (2014) suggested that some research problems address human attitudes and behavior resulting in quantitative measures to be easily applicable. As a result, a quantitative study investigating the relationship between the SBW gender-race schema and attitudes towards mental health seeking would fill in a gap in the literature (Abrams et al., 2014).

Due to the fact that this research addresses the relationship between internalization of the Strong Black Woman schema and help seeking attitudes using statistical data from validated measurement scales, a quantitative design is the appropriate research approach. Quantitative methods collect numerical data from large samples and require limited to no interaction between researchers and participants (Gay et al., 2011; Salkind, 2011). Further, a qualitative methodology would not be the best choice. Qualitative methodologies are best when the researchers wants to utilize a small number of participants and use their subjective experiences to amass a deeper understanding of the phenomena (Miles, Huberman, & Saldana 2014). However, the goal of the current research is to determine if and to what extent a relationship exists, therefore making a quantitative methodology the best choice.

Criterion*

(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
Rationale for Methodology

This section clearly justifies the methodology the researcher plans to use for conducting the study. It argues why the methodological framework is the best approach to answer the research questions and how it will address the problem statement. It uses citations from textbooks and articles on research methodology and/or articles on related studies to justify the methodology. (Minimum two to three paragraphs)

Identifies the specific research methodology for the study.
Justifies the methodology to be used for the study by discussing why it is the best approach for answering the research question(s) and addressing the problem statement.
Uses citations from seminal (authoritative) sources (textbooks and/or empirical research literature) to justify the selected methodology. Note: Introductory or survey research textbooks (such as Creswell) are not considered seminal sources.
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format.
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

Nature of the Research Design for the Study

This correlational study will use survey methods to collect data from Black female participants. The data collected will include information about participants’ demographic characteristics and information about the Strong Black Woman schema and help seeking attitudes. Differences in help seeking attitudes among Black women from the Southern region of the United States will establish if and to what extent a relationship exists between the  independent variable (internalization of the Strong Black Woman schema) and the dependent variable (help seeking attitudes).

The present study does not meet the standards required to be considered an experimental design. These standards include random assignment of cases to groups, manipulation of the independent variable, and control over extraneous variables that might influence the dependent variable(s) (Campbell & Stanley, 2015). Consequently, the proposed research will not reveal the causation of any in relationships discovered in the data due to the fact it is non-experimental (Cohen, Manion, & Morrison, 2013; Johnson & Christensen, 2012). A true experimental design was ruled out for use in this proposed study because experimental research designs require that the researcher be able to manipulate the independent variable and measure the resulting changes in the dependent variable (Johnson & Christensen, 2012). However, the internalization of the Strong Black woman schema cannot be manipulated by the researcher thus eliminating true experimental design as an option.

Based on a G*Power sample, 119 Black women need to be invited to participate in this research. Consequently, the researcher will recruit participants from the two sites that have provided site authorization for the researcher. An email invitation to participate in the study sent to the Black women participants will include a link to an on-line survey hosted by SurveyMonkey©.  Since the participants will be gained through voluntary participation, the sample is considered to be a convenience sample.

Criterion

*(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
Nature of the Research Design for the Study

This section describes the specific research design to answer the research questions and affirms why this approach was selected. It describes the research sample being studied as well as the process that will be used to collect the data on the sample. It identifies the instruments or sources of data needed to answer the research questions. It provides citations from seminal sources such as research textbooks, research articles, and articles on similar studies.(Minimum three to four paragraphs or approximately one page)

Describes the selected design for the study.
Discusses why the selected design is the best design to address the problem statement and research questions as compared to other designs.
Briefly describes the target population, and the sample for the study, the data collection procedures to collect data on the sample, and the instruments or sources of data needed to answer the research questions.
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format.
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

Definition of Terms

The following terms were used operationally in this study:

Black- A person with origins of African descent. Often used interchangeably with the term Black(U.S. Census Bureau, 2017)

Schema- A process of organizing and interpreting information Help seeking propensity (Piaget, 1970)

Caretaking- Nurturing characteristic that causes Black women’s needs to come second to the needs of others (Hamin, 2008)

Self-reliance- Black women having the ability to meet their own needs (Hamin, 2008)

Affect regulation- A facade of composure and emotional control in the face of stressful situations (Hamin, 2008)

Help Seeking Propensity- The willingness to seek help for mental health issues (Mackenzie et al., 2006)

Psychological openness- The willingness to acknowledge mental health issues (Mackenzie et al., 2006)

Indifference to stigma- Regarding how a significant individuals in one’s life may react to help seeking (Mackenzie et al., 2006)

Criterion*

(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
Definitions of Terms

This section defines the study constructs and provides a common understanding of the technical terms, exclusive jargon, variables, phenomena, concepts, and sundry terminology used within the scope of the study. Terms are defined in lay language and in the context in which they are used within the study. (Each definition may be a few sentences to a paragraph.)

Defines any words that may be unknown to a lay person (words with unusual or ambiguous meanings or technical terms) from the research or literature.
Defines the variables for a quantitative study or the phenomena for a qualitative study from the research or literature.
Definitions are supported with citations from scholarly sources.
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format.
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

Assumptions, Limitations, Delimitations

This section will provide an overview of the assumptions, limitations, and delimitations in this proposed research study. Assumptions are described as beliefs held by the researcher (Simon & Goes, 2013). Limitations are constraints that are beyond the control of the researcher but may affect the outcome of the study (Simon & Goes, 2013). Conversely, delimitations are constraints resulting in choices by the researcher (Simon & Goes, 2013).

The following assumptions were made in this proposed study:

  1. It is assumed that survey participants were honest in their completion of the survey items. This assumption has been made based on the fact that participants are told that their information will be kept confidential thereby increasing the likelihood that responses will be accurate due to knowing the information will not be shared. Assuring the confidentiality of the participants data are recommended in the literature to increase survey participation and valid responses (Johnson & Christensen, 2012; Sauermann & Roach, 2013).
  2. The measurements utilized are valid and reliable measures of the variables as claimed by the authors of the instruments. The validity of conclusions drawn from quantitative research are no greater than the validity of the instruments that provide the data.

The proposed research has the following limitations:

  1. 1. All portions of the survey to be used in the data collection assume that participants’ self-reports will be candid and honest. Given that the dependent variables in this study measure participants’ are self-reported there is no alternative form of gathering data. However, it is assumed that informing participants of confidentiality will encourage candid, honest responding. In addition, Keipi, Oksanen, & Räsänen (2015) suggested that surveys conducted online enhance respondents’ sense of anonymity thereby increasing their willingness to express their true sentiments.
    2.   The results of this study may not be generalizable to other groups of Black women. Because the study will be conducted online, there may have been a tendency for participants to be younger in age and of a higher social class than Black women in general.
    3.     Sampling by convenience means that study participants are self-selected and thus there are no guarantees that the resulting samples will be representative of the target populations.

The following delimitation is present in this study:

  1. Because the purpose of this research is determine if and to what extent a relationship exists between the variables, the researcher will be collecting only quantitative data. This delimitation prohibited the collection of qualitative information that might have broadened the scope and increased the depth, if a mixed method approach had been selected.
Criterion

*(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
Assumptions, Limitations and Delimitations

This section identifies the assumptions and specifies the limitations, as well as the delimitations, of the study. (Minimum three to four paragraphs)

States the assumptions being accepted for the study (methodological, theoretical, and topic-specific).
Provides rationale for each assumption, incorporating multiple perspectives, when appropriate.
Identifies limitations of the research design.
Identifies delimitations of the research design.
The Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format.
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

Summary and Organization of the Remainder of the Study

A myriad of factors may impact the underutilization of mental health services  in contemporary Black women. While some of these influences may be related to socioeconomic factors, cultural and historical factors may also influence help seeking attitudes in this population. Social scientists and social critics have examined the construct of the strong Black woman (SBW), as a  historical, social and cultural idea that informs the well being and identity development of  Black women (hooks, 1993).

Although research has been conducted regarding the Strong Black Woman schema, there is a call in the literature to examine the schema along with help seeking attitudes. Therefore, the purpose of this quantitative, correlational research study is to determine if and to what extent a relationship exists between the Strong Black Woman schema and help seeking attitudes among Black women in the Southern region of the United States. The proposed study will utilize a convenience sample to gather data regarding demographics, internalization of the Strong Black Woman schema, and help seeking attitudes.

In the proposed research study the independent variable is internalization of the Strong Black Woman schema.  The dependent variable is help seeking attitudes. The independent variable will be measured using the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (Green, 2011). The dependent variable will be measure using the Inventory of Attitudes Towards Seeking Mental Health Services. After data is gathered, it will be analyzed using SPSS software.

Spearman’s Rho rank correlation analyses will be conducted to quantify the strength of the relationship between internalization of the schema and help seeking attitudes for each dimension of the measurements. The results of the analyses will be presented in Chapter 4. Findings will be explained in order of hypotheses before Chapter 4 concludes with a summary.

Criterion*

(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
Chapter 1 Summary and Organization of the remainder of the study

This section summarizes the key points of Chapter 1 and provides supporting citations for those key points. It then provides a transition discussion to Chapter 2 followed by a description of the remaining chapters. The Proposal, but not the Dissertation, provides a timeline for completing the research and dissertation. (Minimum one to two pages)

Summarizes key points presented in Chapter 1.
Provides citations from scholarly sources to support key points.
Describes the remaining Chapters and provides a transition discussion to Chapter 2. For proposal only, a timeline for completing the research and dissertation is provided.
The Chapter is correctly formatted to dissertation template using the Word Style Tool and APA standards. Writing is free of mechanical errors.
All research presented in the Chapter is scholarly, topic-related, and obtained from highly respected academic, professional, original sources. In-text citations are accurate, correctly cited, and included in the reference page according to APA standards.
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format.
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

Chapter 2: Literature Review

Introduction to the Chapter and Background to the Problem

This chapter provides an analysis of the theoretical framework for this study, as well as, the foundational and recent literature related to the Strong Black Woman construct. Following a review of the theoretical framework for this study, there will be four key themes to be considered and addressed regarding this topic including: (a) Strong Black Woman schema, (b) Psychological Distress in Black Women, (c) Help Seeking Attitudes in African Americans, (d) Health Disparities in the African American Community, (e) Coping Strategies. The survey of the literature for this chapter will be derived from various online databases, textbooks, and peer-reviewed journals.

The researcher conducted a comprehensive literature review using Grand Canyon University’s Library and Google Scholar. The databases utilized included ebook Collection, ebrary, EBSCO, Sage Research Methods, and ProQuest Central. The following keywords  and combination of keywords utilized in the database search were strong black woman schema, theory of planned behavior, psychological distress, help seeking attitudes, and discourse of strength. The search was primarily limited to the last 5 years except for the theory of planned behavior since the seminal author’s, Azjen (1991), work dated to the mid-1980s and some of the theorists that were considered as foundational to his work were in print prior to him . The search for keywords  and combinations of keywords yielded peer reviewed articles, dissertations, books and other reliable sources, of which the vast majority will be cited.

Research on the strong black woman schema has continued to generate attention in the scholarly community over the past several decades, however, there is still more to learn concerning this construct that has implications for various organizations (Abrams, Maxwell, Pope & Belgrave, 2014). The bulk of the existing research is restricted to studying how internalization of the schema increases vulnerability to stress, anxiety, and depression (Norris & Mitchell, 2013).

In fact, research on the strong black woman and psychological help seeking within this field is scarce. However, due to the underutilization of mental health services in this population, it is critical that the relationship between the internalization of the schema and help seeking attitudes is explored in order to gain further understanding of this dynamic. Further, this information can help mental health organization leadership grasp the importance of the schema and its influence on decision-making. The absence of this research along with the call from the scholarly community to explore this construct in diverse ages, socioeconomic status, and educational backgrounds demonstrates a present knowledge gap and need in the literature that needs to be addressed (Abrams, Maxwell, Pope & Belgrave, 2014; Nelson, Cardemil, & Adeoye ,2016; Watson & Hunter, 2015).

Several researchers have suggested that the genesis of the SBW schema is in the enslavement of Blacks and continues due to the various hardships that Black women experience (Romero, 2002; Thomas, Witherspoon & Speight, 2004). As a result, the SBW race-gender schema has aided in the perseverance of Black women in the midst of hardships (Watson & Hunter, 2014). Further, the SBW race-gender schema reinforces the belief that Black women should be self-reliant and not ask for help (Black & Peacock, 2011; Watson & Hunter, 2014; Woods-Giscombe, 2010).

In recent years, research has suggested that the affect-regulation, self-reliance, and self-silence dimensions of the SBW race-gender schema may have adverse effects on African American women’s psychological health (Donovan & West, 2015). Further research regarding the association of health outcomes along with the intersection of race and gender has received qualitative investigation (Abrams, Maxwell, Pope, & Belgrave, 2014; Thomas, Hoxha, & Hacker, 2013). Although research was conducted, Watson and Hunter (2015) identified the need for future studies to assess the relationship between the internalization of the Strong Black Woman Schema and health and mental health issues.

CHAPTER 2 INTRODUCTION (TO THE CHAPTER) AND BACKGROUND (TO THE PROBLEM)

This section describes the overall topic to be investigated, outlines the approach taken for the literature review, and argues the evolution of the problem based on the “gap” or “need” defined in the literature from its origination to its current form. (Minimum two to three pages)

Introduction: Provides an orienting paragraph so the reader knows what the literature review will address. X
Introduction: Describes how the chapter will be organized (including the specific sections and subsections). X
Introduction: Describes how the literature was surveyed so the reader can evaluate thoroughness of the review. This includes search terms and databases used. X
Background: Discusses how the problem has evolved historically into its current form. X
Background: Describes the “gap” or “need” defined in the current literature and how it leads to the creation of the topic and problem statement for the study. X
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format. X
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

Theoretical Foundations and/or Conceptual Framework

Gender schema theory (Bem, 1981) is being used as a theoretical foundation of this study since it has been shown to provide insight about the process of gender schema development and maintenance. Gender schema theory is a social cognitive theory which proposes that humans schematically organize our thoughts and experiences thus creating categories and groupings based on similarities or differences. Bem (1891) noted that gender-linked associations that create a gender schema are intrapersonal. Consequently, early socialization teaches individuals to associate certain traits with their gender. As opposed to existing on a continuum, traits are placed in one gender schema or the other (Bem, 1981).

Bem proposed that children self-select traits not from a wide variety of human characteristics, but from their own narrow gender schema, thus “cultural myths become self-fulfilling prophecies” (1981, p. 355- 356). This schema is then reinforced by society through interpersonal relationships, communities, organizational structures, and the media (Ridgeway, 2009). Therefore, gender schema theory asserts that individuals cognitively process and encode what it means to be male or female from the culture that they live in. As a result, behavior is adjusted to fit in with gender norms and expectations of their culture. Accordingly, the SBW construct is a gender schema theory that is pervasive throughout the African American community (Woods-Giscombe, 2010).

Bem (1974 ) proposed that being concerned with being a typical girl or boy was limiting and might lead to negative psychological adjustment. In order to explore how the SBW race-gender schema theory displays a relationship with help seeking, the theory of planned behavior could be used. The theory of planned behavior is a useful framework for predicting intentions to seek therapy. The theory states that intentions to perform specific behaviors can be predicted by three beliefs: attitudes toward the behavior, subjective norms, and perceived behavior control (Ajzen, 1991).

Lips (2016) suggests that one of the most significant impacts of Bem’s work has been to bring invisible but pervasive processes of gender categorization into focus, and then to use that new visibility to drive social change. Therefore, when used together, the gender schema theory would work to provide insight into the SBW construct while the theory of planned behavior would work to provide an understanding of one’s intention to seek mental health help. Understanding how these two things work together can assist clinicians in understanding the cultural barriers holding Black women back from seeking help.

What is known is how the SBW schema relates to anxiety and depressive symptoms based on prior research in the field (Watson & Hunter, 2015). What is not known is how the internalization of the SBW schema may impact the decision of women to seek psychological help. This quantitative study is expected to contribute information about how the SBW schema impacts the decision to seek psychological help which therefore impacts the utilization of mental health services in the Black community. The researcher will address this issue within the context of women from diverse socioeconomic, educational, partnered/marital, and regional backgrounds because of the dearth of research within this environment. Finally, this study will respond to the call by authors to extend the literature regarding the relationship between the internalization of the SBW schema and help seeking behaviors (Abrams et. al, 2014; Watson & Hunter, 2015).

Criterion

*(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
theoretical foundations and/or conceptual framework

This section identifies the theory(ies) or model(s) that provide the foundation for the research. This section should present the theory(ies) or models(s) and explain how the problem under investigation relates to the theory(ies) or model(s). The theory(ies) or models(s) guide the research questions and justify what is being measured (variables) as well as how those variables are related (quantitative) or the phenomena being investigated (qualitative). (Minimum two to three pages)

Identifies a model(s) or theory(ies) from seminal source(s) that provide a reasonable conceptual framework or theoretical foundation to use in developing the research questions, identifying variables/phenomena, and selecting data collection instruments. X
Accurately cites the appropriate seminal source(s) for each theory or model. X
Includes a cogent discussion/synthesis of the theory or model and justifies the theoretical foundation/framework as relevant to the study. Connects the study directly to the theory and describes how the study will add or extend the theory or model. X
Builds a logical argument of how the research questions directly align to the theoretical foundation for the study. X
Reflects a deep understanding of the foundational, historical, research relevant to the theoretical foundation/framework. X
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format. X
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

Review of the Literature

Behavioral health diseases have biological correlates that are subject to influence by modifiable social, economic, and environmental conditions that affect not only the individual but the whole community, neighborhood, and population (Shim, Koplam, Langheim, Manseau, Powers, & Compton, 2014). As a result, the underutilization of mental health services continues to be a concern within our culture. As established above, these concerns are widespread and various studies have attempted to determine causation for the lack of utilization in the Black community (Hines, Cooper, & Shi, 2017; Jang, Park, Kang, & Chiriboga, 2014; Lee, Xiu, Spira, & Lee, 2014; Lindsey, Chambers, Pohle, Beall, & Lucksted, 2013). Additionally, previously conducted research containing Black women has documented an association between the internalization of the SBW schema and psychological distress, low self-esteem, chronic health conditions, and participation in risky sexual behaviors (Brown,Webb-Bradley, Cobb, Spaw,  & Aldridge, 2014; Lewis & Neville, 2015; Woods-Giscombé, Lobel, Zimmer, Wiley Cené, & Corbie-Smith, 2015).

Although studies have been conducted, there is limited research regarding the cultural factors, especially gender schemas such as the SBW schema, which may be impacting the decision to seek psychological help. Thus exposing a knowledge gap in the literature signifying that developing a study into this area could prove to be valuable to the field. It is with these thoughts in mind that a literature review will be conducted in order to examine the concepts related to the SBW schema which potentially influences the decision to seek psychological help.

In order to fully develop the topic of the SBW schema and psychological help seeking there must be consideration of several themes, which have been identified as leading to this construct.  First, the Strong Black Woman schema will be examined, which will lead into a discussion of the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS). Next, help seeking attitudes will be examined, consequently leading to a discussion of the theory of planned behavior and Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS) scale. Finally, an overview of content related to psychological distress in Black women and health disparities in the Black Community will provide additional context to the dissertation topic.

Strong Black Woman Schema

The Strong Black Woman is defined by her physical strength, emotional invulnerability, struggle, perseverance, self-reliance, care-taking, and self-sacrifice (Black & Peacock, 2011). The Strong Black Woman schema mandates that Black woman appear physically and emotionally strong in front of others. Black women experience early exposure to the characteristics associated with a strong Black woman (SBW) ideal as generations transmit these socially and culturally based norms of Black womanhood found in the African American and larger American contexts (Belgrave & Adams, 2016).

Abrams, Maxwell, Pope, and Belgrave (2014) conducted a thematic analysis in which the goal was to integrate overlapping attributes of various existing constructs beneath a single term while also expounding upon the defining characteristics of the SBW Schema. Data was gathered from 44 Black women ranging in age from 18-91 located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Prominent themes that emerged as characteristics of the SBW Schema were (a) Embodies and Displays Multiple Forms of Strength, (b) Possesses Self/Ethnic Pride in Spite of Intersectional Oppression, (c) Embraces Being Every Woman, and (d) Anchored by Religion/Spirituality. Further, the authors advocate for future research to investigate how identification with the SBW Schema influences self-care, including health promoting and health-compromising behaviors thereby enforcing the thought that there is a gap in the literature.

The discourse of strength is a pervasive factor in the SBW schema. Black and Woods-Giscombe (2012) theorize strength as a culturally suggested coping style that asserts resilience, self-reliance and psychological hardiness as a survival response to race-related and gender-related stressors. Using qualitative methods, the researchers investigated the potential for strength as a coping mechanism to manifest as extraordinary caregiving, emotional suppression and self-care postponement.  The results from this research concluded that these manifestations arise and often result in a lack of time dedicated to scheduling and attending screening appointments, deficient of or delayed in acknowledgement of breast health symptoms and low prioritizing of breast care. This research further deduces that discourse of strength aspect of the SBW schema has the potential to cause Black women to engage in health compromising behaviors.

Conversely, West, Donovan, and Daniel (2016) highlighted the paradox of the SBW schema. Thematic analysis of approximately 113 participants from an urban university in New England revealed definitions of a SBW, including, strong, independent, hard working, and caring. Additionally, participants disclosed that internalization of the SBW can lead to positive self image but cause individuals from other ethnic groups to view the SBW negatively. Further, the authors assert that the SBW schema may be a positive practice of coping and a defensive technique for ideal mental health; on the other hand, it may be an adverse form of coping and a predictive factor for poor mental health.

West, Donovan, and Daniel suggest several areas for future research. First, the authors call for research concerning the SBW schema to include women who are in college as well as those who never attended. Expanding the range of women included in future studies has potential to increase the generalizability of the results. Additionally, the authors note that additional studies regarding the SBW need to be conducted in order to inform quantitative research which continues to be “limited in sound psychometrics” for the construct.

Similar to the aforementioned study, Nelson, Cardemil, Adeoye (2016) examined perceptions of the strong Black woman in a sample of 30 Black women utilizing qualitative methodology.  It was determined that participants characterize the SBW/superwoman role through five characteristics: independence, caretaking, hardworking and high achieving, overcoming adversity, and emotionally contained. Additionally, many participants defined the roles in ways that were empowering and freeing versus constraining.

Contrarily, numerous participants were critical of and rejected the role, thus concentrating on its challenging and inflexible discourse of strength. These negative perceptions highlight the significance of increasing attentiveness of limiting gendered and racialized role expectations. Additionally, the results from this study underscore how the pervasiveness of the discourse of strength and familiarity with the SBW/superwoman role among Black women. Further, the authors suggest that future researchers should explore how the characteristics of the SBW schema relate to how Black women comprehend and pursue help for their personal mental and physical health.

Four measurements of the SBW schema were previously developed to assess the internalization of the SBW schema. The first was a dissertation by Thompson (2003) describing preliminary validation of a 30 questions-item entitled “Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale”. Factor analysis suggested a three-factor structure: Self-Reliance, Affect Regulation, and Care-Taking. Although the factor structure is in line with previous descriptions of the Strong Black Woman ideal set forth by Romero (2000), the internal consistency of the total and subscales was fairly low (total score: alpha = .74; Self-Reliance: alpha = .69; Affect Regulation: alpha = .72; Care-Taking: alpha = .66). Additionally, Self-Reliance was negatively correlated with Affect Regulation although theoretical and qualitative literature would predict positive correlations between the three factors. Since counterintuitive results were produced, Thompson (2003) considered whether the construct of self-reliance was adequately measured by the scale items. Also, the validation study included both Black and White women, but did not directly compare groups to determine whether the construct was specific to Black women. The Strong Black Woman Attitudes scale development study has not been used in any published studies.

The second measure developed to assess the SBW schema was the Superwoman subscale of the Stereotypic Roles for Black Women Scale (Thomas,Witherspoon, & Speight, 2004). In addition to the Strong Black Woman subscale, the 34-item scale included subscales for three other stereotypes of Black women: the Jezebel, Sapphire, and Mammy. As the only published quantitative measure of the Strong Black Woman ideal, it is unfortunate that the reported internal consistency of the Superwoman subscale was fairly low (alpha = .67). Also, with only 11-items in the subscale, the scale did not adequately cover the breadth and depth of characteristics outlined by previous literature on the SBW schema. The subscale does not include items that referred to a life defined by struggle and only included one item related to self-reliance. Also, the five items that would be representative of the mask of strength/emotional invulnerability domain were almost solely represented by items discussing the ease/difficulty of sharing problems with others (e.g., “I do not want others to know if I experience a problem,” “It is difficult for me to share problems with others,” and “It is easy for me to tell other people my problems”.

In a follow-up to the Thompson (2003) study, Hamin (2008) revised the SBWAS to further explore the cultural components of the SBW schema, as well as examine its relationship to stress and social support among Black women. In addition to confirming the existence of a three factor model, the results of the study also indicated that the SBW schema is a possible coping mechanism used in relation to stress and issues related to racial identity. Additionally, Hamin changed the name of the SBWAS to the Strong Black Woman Cultural Construct Scale (SBWCCS). The internal consistency on the revised scale total score (.76) and subscales; caretaking =, affect regulation, and self reliance were (.75, .64, and .62) respectively.

In addition to item revision and investigation of the psychometric properties of the

SBWCCS, Hamin (2008) also measured the SBWCCS ability to predict outcome variables such as racial identity, social support, and stress. Multiple regression analyses were used to measure the predictability of the SBWCCS in relation to the variables. In regards to stress, a construct central to the study, Hamin found that high levels on SBWCCS predicted both perceived stress and number of stressful events. Specifically, the overall SBWCCS, as measured by the total score, predicted stress among study participants. However, the relationship between the Caretaking, Affect Regulation, and Self-Reliance SBWCCS subscales and stress varied. According to Hamin, higher levels of caretaking, as well as higher levels of affect regulation, were associated with higher levels of perceived stress. In contrast, self-reliance was found to be negatively associated with perceived stress. In other words, women who scored higher on the Self-Reliance subscale had lower levels of perceived stress.

The most recent measurement of the schema is a revision to Thompson’s SBWAS scale by Green (2011). Green indicated that Thompson noted 11 factors on the original scale did not have adequate factor loadings. As a result, Green’s version of the scale is comprised of the 19 adequate factor loadings. Additionally, responses are measured on a 4-point Likert scale, ranging from 1 (Never) to 5 (Almost always). Higher scores indicate greater internalization of the schema. After revising Thompson’s scale, Green found adequate internal consistency: α = .80 for the total scale, and the three subscales of caretaking (.64), affect regulation (.78) and self reliance (.82).

Throughout the literature, the SBW schema can be seen as a double edged sword representing both an asset and a vulnerability. Romero has stated that, “an overused asset that develops uncritically without ongoing evaluation and attention to changing needs and demands runs the risk of becoming a liability” (2000, p. 225). Therefore, examining how this phenomenon contributes to the current health status of Black women would be significant to the field. For the purposes of this quantitative research, the instrument to measure the internalization of the SBW schema by Black women ages 18-65 will be the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale, which has been confirmed by Green (2012) as valid and reliable.

Role Strain and the Strong Black Woman Schema

Intersectionality occurs when Black woman incorporate aspects of stereotypical ideas and contemporary functions into their lives (Brah & Phoenix, 2013). The ideal of independence as a pertinent characteristic of Black women has been reflected in both past and present social contexts and reflects cultural expectations of independence as well as social and economic realities (Wallace, Moore, & Curtis, 2014). However, literature regarding the multiple roles that Black women experience and the distress it causes is lacking (Martin, Boadi, Fernandes, Watt, & Robinson-Wood, 2013).

DeFrancisco & Chatham-Carpenter (2000) point out in their qualitative study of 21 Black women of various socioeconomic statuses that many Black women find themselves carrying the bulk of responsibility within the home in addition to work duties outside of the home, as they often are the primary breadwinners in the household.  West (1995), who defines role strain as the difficulty in fulfilling role obligations,discusses this concept as an important barrier to health for African American women. West (1995) explores role strain in the context of many Black women carrying the sole responsibility for maintaining their households and on average having fewer finances to work with as they earn less money than their White counterparts.

The 2010 U.S. Census found that Black women headed 30.1 percent of single family  households as opposed to 9.9 % of White women. Although in the past decade, the overall amount of U.S. households headed by women has increased across races (18.2%), African American female headed households have grown far faster than other races (Lofquist,2012). As such, the likelihood of Black women as the primary caretakers of themselves and others seems increasing more likely.
Societal factors such as the historical employment discrimination against African
American men, has left the burden of supporting the African American family on the woman, thus contributing to this need for her autonomy (Hagelskamp & Hughes, 2014). Collins (1999) reviewed the sociohistorical context of Black women in her exposition on the politics of gender
and sex within the African American community and described how factors such as high
incarceration rates of African American men have subsequently affected gender roles for African American women.

Wyatt (2008) further described how the African American woman‘s multiple
roles as primary breadwinner in the household coupled with her already existent child care responsibilities have compounded her responsibilities as head of household. Here, again is a social and economic reality which necessitates the over-functioning of African American women. Therefore, viewing Black women solely through the stereotypical lens of Strength obscures these social pressures and inappropriately locates her tendency to over function in an inherent character trait rather than as a mechanism for survival.

Additionally, viewing Black women unidimensional, as self reliant also obscures the detrimental effects of such over functioning on the well being of these women. As stated above, multiple roles and multiple expectations can contribute to role strain.
Role strain exemplifies only one possible manifestation of the relationship between historical notions of African American womanhood and mental health. Contemporary researchers have begun to explore psychological functioning in Black women in relationship to having various roles. Although findings have been mixed, such as Giurgescu et al.’s (2015) study of pregnant Black women, who found that these black women engaged in multiple roles lived in lower quality neighborhoods and had increased depressive symptoms while other studies have found more positive outcomes.

Abrams, Maxwell, Pope, Belgrave (2014), in a qualitative study of the Strong Black woman, found that role stress (which is similar to role strain) has the ability to positively impact coping resources and that multiple role stress does not always negatively impact mothering roles. One participant commented, “Strong Black Women like our mothers, our grandmothers, and godmothers,  aunts…taught us how to be strong and how to work with or without a man in our lives, making  us Strong Black Women” (Abrams et al., 2014, p. 18). Essentially denoting that these women, who undertake multiple roles, also experienced high levels of stress are taught how to navigate these roles and given ways to cope.

Beliefs about the centrality of nurturing, and the controlled expression of emotions as other aspects of the stereotypical notions of African American womanhood have also shown negative effects on Black women‘s well-being, particularly perceptions of stress and depression (Rozario & Derienzis, 2008). Given societal expectations to smoothly handle multiple responsibilities and support others, Black women may learn to internalize their problems instead of seeking help for them.
Help Seeking

In the mental health context, help-seeking is an adaptive coping process that results in the attempt to obtain assistance to deal with a mental health concern. Several studies have been conducted regarding help seeking attitudes (Bromley,Kennedy, Miranda, Sherbourne, Wells, Garro,& Kennedy, 2016; Hammer & Vogel, 2013; Henderson, Evans-Lacko, & Thornicroft, 2013; Reynders, Kerkhof, Molenberghs, & Van Audenhove, 2014; Rüsch, Heekeren, Theodoridou,  Dvorsky, Müller,  Paust, & Rössler, 2013 ). Further, it has been concluded that stigma related to seeking help for mental disorders may cause a service seeking delay ( Pattyn, Verhaeghe,Sercu, & Bracke, 2014; Sickel, Seacat, & Nabors, 2014; Turner, Jensen-Doss & Heffer, 2015).

Belief in the Strong Black Woman ideal may limit self-care activities like seeking psychological services due to the mandate of self-reliance and self-sacrifice (Beaubouef-Lafontant, 2007). The time and additional resources needed to engage in psychotherapy may be seen as detracting from resources needed to serve the family, church, and community. Because the Strong Black Woman is expected to handle her problems independently, receiving mental health services may be seen as an admission of weakness or failure (Harris, 1995; Littlefield, 2003; Thomas et al., 2004).

Due to the negative attributions associated with seeking help, women who strive to attain this archetypal image often suffer in silence, feeling frustrated and isolated because they cannot ask for the support they need (Ashley, 2014; Macias, 2015). Quantitative research has also suggested that depressed Black women may choose to uphold the mask of strength rather than seek therapy (Williams, Foye,& Lewis, 2016). For these reasons, the current study will include a quantitative examination of the relationship between the Strong Black Woman schema and mental health help-seeking beliefs. Specifically, this study will examine whether endorsement of the Strong Black Woman ideal is related to women’s attitudes, perceived social norms, and perceived obstacles to seeking mental health services using the theory of planned behavior and if and to what extent these beliefs are associated with Black women’s intentions to seek therapy

Cheng, Kwan, and Sevig (2013) conducted a study using structural equation modeling (SEM) to explore the effects of psychological distress on perceived stigmatization by others and self-stigma for seeking psychological help. The sample consisted of 260 African American, 166 Asian American, and 183 Latino American students. Across all 3 groups it was concluded that higher levels of psychological distress along with perceived racial/ethnic discrimination accurately predicted higher levels of perceived stigmatization by others for seeking psychological help. Also, it was concluded that higher levels of psychological distress along with perceived discrimination predicted higher levels of perceived stigmatization by others for seeking psychological help. Further, these results accurately predicted greater self-stigma for seeking psychological help. Moreover, lower levels of self-stigma for seeking psychological help across all groups was seen in participants with higher levels of other-group orientation. Interesting the only group where higher levels of ethnic identity predicted lower levels of self-stigma of seeking psychological help was for African Americans.

Sosulski and Woodward (2013) conducted a study which utilized data from the National Survey of American Life to examine the usage of professional services and informal support among Black women with in psychological distress. Forty-seven percent of participants utilized a combination of both professional services and informal support, 14% relied on professional services only, 2% used informal support only, and 16% did not seek help at all.

Due to the results, Sosulski and Woodward suggest that quantitative and qualitative studies of gender-role-related variables will explain how much expectations for women within families and communities impact help-seeking behavior. The authors note that the studies should be designed to conclude whether race plays a substantial role in assisting or deterring women from seeking help. The author’s suggestion for future research may result in improved psychological interventions with increased awareness about culture and gender. As a result, Black women may seek more help thereby increasing mental health utilization.

Researchers have proposed that some individuals may evade seeking mental health information because it is too threatening due to self-stigma and negative attitudes (Clement, Schauman, Graham, Maggioni, Evans-Lacko, Bezborodovs, & Thornicroft, 2015; Corrigan, Druss, & Perlick, 2014; Lannin,Guyll, Vogel, & Madon, 2013; Swan, Heesacker, & King, 2016). However, the link to actual help-seeking decisions has not been tested; therefore, Lannin, Vogel, Brenner, Abraham, and Heath (2015) examined if and to what extent self-stigma and attitudes negatively influence decisions to pursue information about mental health concerns and counseling. Using 370 undergraduates, the researchers utilized Probit regression models and discovered that self-stigma negatively predicted decisions to pursue both mental health and counseling information. Also, participant’s attitudes concerning counseling mediated self-stigma’s effect on these decisions. Higher levels of distress predicted the likelihood of seeking mental health information (8.5%) and counseling information (8.4%) for those with high self-stigma were nearly half of those with low self-stigma (17.1% and 15.0%, respectively). These results propose that self-stigma may deter initial decisions to seek mental health and counseling information. It further denotes the need for the development of interventions aimed at the reduction of help-seeking barriers.

Jones et al. (2013) conducted a study to develop a measure of health related stereotype threat using sample of 280 Black collegiate. The findings revealed that Blacks scored significantly higher (M = 5.4; SD = 1.31) than the midpoint (4.0) on the black-white health-related stereotype awareness item. These results are indication that participants were conscious of the black health inferiority stereotype. Ultimately, the findings suggest that, if Blacks are unable to protect themselves from health related stereotype threat, they may delay preventive measures that might improve their health thus delaying help seeking.

The Strong Black Woman in Contrast to White Women

In addition to describing what the Strong Black Woman is, theorists have also focused on what she is not. Specifically, the Strong Black Woman has been contrasted against the normative female gender norms stereotypically embodied by White, middle-class women (Baker, Buchanan, Mingo, Roker, & Brown, 2014). Descriptions of Black women as strong, independent, and aggressive are in stark contrast to descriptions of the mainstream female gender role as sensitive, emotional, dependent, submissive, and passive (Romer, 1980). Some have argued that Black women would have to be stronger than other women, because of the history of slavery and the current presence of discrimination, single-parent households, and poverty among Black women (Roberts, 2014; Umberson, Williams, Thomas, Liu, & Thomeer, 2014). Harris (1995) theorizes that this contrast between Black and White women arose during slavery as Black women were seen working in the fields alongside men and entering White women’s homes only to take care of their children, cooking, and house cleaning. The life of a Black female during this time was defined by struggle and survival, whereas the life of a wealthy White woman was stereotypically defined as one of privilege and ease (Harris-Lacewell, 2001).

Qualitative work has also captured Black women’s thoughts and feelings about their identity in relation to their White counterparts. In a study of Black Caribbean women from the United Kingdom, participants asserted that the struggle and survival history of Black women has endowed them with strength and resilience unavailable to White women from relatively less strife-marked histories (Edge & Rogers, 2005). A participant in a study of Black West-Indian women from Ontario, Canada echoed a similar sentiment, “I think Black women are stronger [than Whites]. They’ve been, I mean, I’m talking about going back with generations so you were raised to be, you know, the strength of the home, the mother” (Schreiber, Stern, & Wilson, 2000, p. 41). This participant owed the greater strength of Black women to managing life as the head of the household.

Interviews with Black women have uncovered similar comparisons. In one study, Black women described other Black females whose lives were not marked with struggle as “weak,” “not Black,” and “White” (Beaubouef-Lafontant, 2007, p. 38). A 29-year-old divorced mother described her cousin as “livin’ the White life” because she was a successful business owner: “being a Black woman means, you know: You’re at home, you struggle, you get out once in a while, and that’s supposed to be meaningful to you” (p. 38). A life without struggle prevents one from being authentically Black and female.

Measurements of the Strong Black Woman Schema

For the purposes of this quantitative research, the instrument to measure help seeking attitudes in Black women ages 18-65 will be the Inventory of Attitudes Toward Mental Health Services (IASMHS; Mackenzie, Knox, Gekoski, & Macaulay, 2004), a modified version of Fischer and Turner’s (1970) Attitudes Towards Seeking Professional Psychological Help Scale. The IASMHS is a 24 item scale and has three internally consistent factors: psychological openness, help-seeking propensity, and indifference to stigma. According to the authors of the scale, (1) psychological openness, the extent to which individuals recognize psychological problems and are open to the possibility of seeking professional help; (2) help seeking propensity, the extent to which individuals are willing and able to seek professional psychological help; and (3) indifference to stigma, the extent to which individuals are concerned about what important others might think if they were to find out that he or she was receiving professional psychological help. Example items include: ‘There are certain problems which should not be discussed outside of one’s immediate family’(psychological openness) , ‘If I believed I were having a mental breakdown, my first inclination would be to get professional attention’ (help-seeking propensity), and ‘Having been mentally ill carries with it a burden of shame’ (indifference to stigma) . Answers could range from disagree (0) to agree (4).

In the first published study using the IASMHS with an all Black population, Ward, Wiltshire, Detry and Brown (2013) determined the subscales presented adequate construct validity and internal consistencies were adequate ranging from 0.73 to 0.81. Results of the study indicated that the participants attitudes suggested they are not very open to acknowledging psychological problems, are very concerned about stigma associated with mental illness, and are somewhat open to seeking mental health services, but ultimately prefer religious coping. Although participants were concerned about the stigma associated with mental illness and possessed psychological openness, participants were slightly open to pursuing mental health services. The participants openness to seeking mental health services is consistent with the positive findings of Pedersen and Paves (2014) but in opposition with the research that suggests that Blacks have a negative attitude toward help seeking (Cheng, McDermott, & Lopez, 2015; Parcesepe & Cabassa, 2013; Wei,Hayden, Kutcher, Zygmunt, & McGrath, 2013).

Theory of Planned Behavior

The Theory of Planned behavior provides a framework for the investigation of an individual’s intent to execute context-specific actions. The TPB makes the assumption that human behavior is goal-directed, influenced by the social climate, and that individuals are logical and rational in their decision making (Azjen, 1991). Accordingly, the TPB has been identified as one of the most well-studied theories to explain individuals’ social behaviors ( Davis, Campbell, Hildon, Hobbs, & Michie, 2015).

Mesidor and Sly (2014) examined the relationship between planned behavior and help-seeking intentions of a sample of 111 international and African American college students. The results of this study showed that the variables of psychological openness, help seeking propensity, and indifference to stigma accounted for 17.7 % of the variance in help-seeking intentions. The researchers hypothesized that positive attitudes toward mental health services and perceived behavioral control would be significant predictors of the help seeking intentions. This hypothesis was partially supported and presented perceived behavioral control as the strongest predictor of help-seeking intentions. Dissimilar to expectations, the participant’s attitudes towards mental health services were not significant predictors of intentions to seek help. Accordingly, researchers concluded that there was no significant difference between the scores of the African American students and international students. These conclusions indicate a need for service provides to design a program to aid individuals in translating their help seeking intentions into the consumption of services.

Bohon, Cotter, Kravitz, Cello, and Garcia (2016) examined the relationship amongst help seeking attitudes, which was determined with the Attitude Toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help Scale, and relevant psychological variables. For this study, the authors included a total of 7,397 participants, and utilized the Meta-analysis with Interactive eXplanations (MIX) program to evaluate data. The following 9 variables were chosen for analysis: anticipated benefit, anticipated risks, depression, distress, self-concealment, self-disclosure, social support, public-stigma, and self-stigma. While most variables were reported as significantly associated with help-seeking attitudes, the authors established the largest effect sizes were for self-stigma, anticipated benefits, and self-disclosure. Consequently, the results of this study support the need for research to further investigate help seeking and various associated variables.

Although TPB is one of the most used theories to explain individual’s social behavior it has not been without criticism. Sniehotta, Presseau, and Araujo-Soares (2014) called for retirement of the theory. The authors suggest that what is needed instead of TPB is new theories that can be used to explain behavioral phenomena. Sniehotta, Presseau, and Araujo-Soares noted that these new hypotheses may better help people change their behavior and to help those who design and deliver interventions to help people to do so. Additionally,  the theory has been criticized for its exclusion of unconscious influences on behavior (Sheeran, Gollwitzer & Bargh, 2013) and the role of emotions beyond anticipated affective outcomes (Conner, Gaston, Sheeran, & Germain, 2013).

Conversely, the call for the theory to retire has been responded to by many. Azjen (2015) asserted that the criticism is misguided and based on misunderstandings of the theory. Additional support for the theory has been provided by previous research showing that including a measure of attitudes towards not performing a behavior, in addition to attitudes towards performing the behavior, can significantly improve prediction of intentions (Ajzen & Sheikh, 2013). Despite the criticism presented, the theory of planned behavior is useful for investigating behaviors that warrant individual decisions but have varying levels of social acceptability (Betsch  & Haberstroh, 2014).

In sum, the theory of planned behavior uses evaluations of attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control to successfully predict intentions to engage in a behavior. Although the theory has successfully predicted a multitude of behaviors, including mental health help-seeking, that prediction may be enhanced by including cultural factors such as the SBW schema into consideration. The current study seeks to build upon past research by adding to the paucity of theory-based research on help seeking while considering the influence of culture and gender.

Psychological Distress in Black Women

Black women are at a greater risk for exposure to multiple traumatic events and are less likely to seek mental health services than White women (Gobin & Allard, 2016; Stevens-Watkins, Perry, Pullen, Jewell, & Oser, 2014). Accordingly, many Black women report using avoidant and passive coping strategies which increases their risk for lower psychological adjustment (Giurgescu, Zenk, Templin, Engeland, Dancy, Park, & Misra, 2015; Lewis, Mendenhall, Harwood, & Huntt, 2013; Stevens-Watkins, Sharma, Knighton, Oser, & Leukefeld, 2014). As a result of low psychological adjustment combined with underutilization of mental health services, research on psychological distress in Black women is prevalent.

Watson and Hunter (2015) investigated if and to what extent Black women’s endorsement of the SBW schema predicted increased symptoms of anxiety and depression and if and to what extent attitudes toward professional psychological help-seeking intensified psychological distress. The researchers collected data from 95 Black women ranging in age from 18 to 65. Through hierarchical regression analysis, it was revealed that individuals who demonstrated greater adherence to the SBW schema also demonstrated greater symptoms of anxiety and depression.  Further, it was determined that Black women’s attitudes toward professional help-seeking did not moderate the associations between endorsement of the SBW schema and anxiety or depression. Consequently, the findings of this study offer empirical support for the role of cultural factors, like the SBW schema, in Black women’s experience of underutilization of mental health services.

Norris and Mitchell (2013) conducted a study that investigated the stress process for Black women by developing a model that examined the relationship between (a) source and type of stress exposure, (b) perceived social support, and (c) the resulting manifestation of psychological distress. Utilizing data from a 2003 survey by the Center for the Study of Public Health Impacts of Hurricanes at Louisiana State University, the researchers completed ordinary least squares (OLS) regression to analyze how the stress-support-distress process functions with Black women. It was determined that Black women who reported greater exposure to traumatic life events reported greater levels of psychological distress. Contrarily, it was reported that chronic stressors had no effect on psychological distress for Black women. Additionally, younger women and those who reported lower levels of income reported greater levels of psychological distress than their older and/or wealthier counterparts.

Continuing with research regarding psychological distress Donovan and West (2015) conducted a study using a sample of 92 Black female college students to address a gap in the literature by quantitatively investigating the relationship among SBW endorsement, stress, and anxious and depressive symptoms in this population. The results revealed that both moderate and high levels of SBW endorsement increase the relationship between stress and depressive symptoms. However, low levels of SBW endorsement do not. This data extends preceding qualitative discoveries and propose that embracing the SBW role increases Black women’s susceptibility to depressive symptoms associated with stress.

Conversely, Sumra and Schillaci (2015) investigated the interplay between engagement of seven roles and perceived stress and life satisfaction in a small non-random sample of women in North America (N = 308). The researchers found a significant negative correlation between perceived stress and life satisfaction, and role satisfaction. Additionally, data from multiple regression models did not detect the level of role engagement as a significant predictor of perceived stress or life satisfaction. Further, the researchers hypothesized that women engaged in the “superwoman” role would display higher levels of perceived stress. However, the results revealed that the women in these roles do not experience higher levels of perceived stress than non-superwomen. Therefore, the results of this study suggest that engagement in multiple roles, even at high levels such as those experienced by “superwomen”, is not associated with greater levels of higher stress, or reduced life satisfaction.

 Health Disparities in the Black Community

Research spanning three decades supports the idea that oppressive systems and discrimination are obstacles that often lead to poorer health for marginalized people (Williams & Mohammed, 2013). Recently, racism and discrimination as determinants of health inequalities has received increased attention (Black, Johnson, & VanHoose, 2015; Chae et al., 2015;  Feagin & Bennefield, 2014). Further, Belgrave and Adams (2016) suggest that there is a need to garner a greater understanding of the complex nature of health disparities experienced by Black women in order to move the field forward in making progress toward achieving health equity for this population. As a result, it is important to discuss the causes of health disparities in the Black community in order to gather an understanding of the barriers that may contribute to the underutilization of mental health care in the population.

Discrimination Based Disparities

As cited in Kang and Burton (2014), critical race research supports that racism produces psychological and emotional injuries that parallel the posttraumatic effects of combat and other interpersonal traumas. Kang and Burton (2014) noted that survivors of racism, like survivors of other interpersonal traumas, experience the event as negative, sudden, and uncontrollable. Aftereffects include intrusive reexperiencing, avoidance of similar threats in the future, and arousal manifesting in hypervigilance and sleeplessness (Kang & Burton, 2014).

Versey and Curtin (2015) investigated both mental and physical health consequences of discrimination, as well as mediating relationships among African American and White women. The study utilized data from the Women’s Life Path Study (N = 237). The findings suggest that discrimination is both directly and indirectly associated with health outcomes for both Black and White women, mediated by both individual and group level processes such as self esteem and structural awareness. Results from this study also indicate that discrimination is associated with intensified structural awareness and lower self esteem which are both related to poorer health. Therefore, it can be concluded that perceived discrimination can be associated with health disparities.

Chen and Yang (2014) conducted a study with 9880 adults from a Southeastern region and found a positive association between discrimination and distrust. More than 9 percent of the participants reported experiencing discrimination when seeking health care and possessed significantly higher rates of chronic diseases and depression than those who reported not being discriminated against. Additionally, those reporting experiencing discrimination also held greater distrust for the medical system. Interestingly, more than half of participants who reported discrimination and distrust were Black. Comparably, Armstrong et al. (2014) investigated the contribution of self-reported experiences of racial discrimination to racial differences in health care system distrust 762 Black adults and 1267 White adults living in 40 metropolitan areas in the United States. Similar to the results of Chen and Yang (2014), a majority of Black participants reported experiencing discrimination with 80% of the Black participants reported discrimination as opposed to the 34% of Whites.

Chao et al. (2014) conducted a study of 394 African Americans in order to determine whether there was a significant association between perceived racism, self-esteem, shyness, and psychological distress. The individual experience of racism was found to have a significant negative impact on preexisting psychological difficulties, including capacity for coping, stress management, and vulnerability to the effects of future instances of racism. In other studies cited by Chao et al. (2014), it was found that more exposure to racism was associated with African Americans experiencing increased emotional isolation and alienation, less resilience, fewer coping resources, more difficulty initiating conversations with strangers, lower usage of counseling services, and greater difficulty trusting counselors who were not African American.

Medical Distrust Based Disparities

The utilization of Black bodies for scientific and medical breakthrough shaped Black Americans views of the medical profession and medical institutions (Boulware,Cooper,Ratner, LaVeist, & Powe, 2016). Even outside of the founding of gynecology, poor and enslaved people were used as guinea pigs for doctors to practice medical procedures. This “legacy of mistrust,” or the continuation of a discomfort of  medical institutions, carried on after slavery into the 20th century. By the 1930s, the fear and suspicion became justified again as Tuskegee Syphilis Study began (Moore et al., 2013). As a result, Black people report greater levels of medical distrust for the values domain encompassing beliefs about the honesty, motives, and equity in the medical system as opposed to Whites (Armstrong et al., 2014).

The Tuskegee Legacy Project surveyed 1133 racially diverse adults in 4 US cities. The findings revealed no difference in self-reported willingness to participate in research between groups, yet black participants were significantly more likely than white participants to have a higher fear of participation based on the Guinea Pig Fear Factor scale (Katz et al., 2008).

Given the myriad of factors affecting Black women‘s health, i.e. the historical and contemporary context of unequal access to healthcare, unequal access to and receipt of medical and psychological treatment, environmental factors, economic hardship and the effects of gendered racism, it seems important to consider the interface of culture with these factors. As a cultural construct, the SBW has been conceptualized as a psychological defensive style and coping mechanism (Romero, 2000; Thompson, 2003; Hamin, 2008). While this construct may relate to protecting one‘s self against one‘s own vulnerabilities and social harms, it may also have some relationship to how Black women manifest and handle psychological distress as well as consequently seek help for that distress.

Coping Strategies of Black Women

The SBW schema has been cited as prompting women to use self-reliance and self-silence as coping strategies in response to stressors (Watson & Hunter, 2015). Coping refers to “cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific external and/or internal demands that are appraised as taxing or exceeding the resources of the person” (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984 , p. 141). Due to the underutilization of mental health services by Black women, many studies have attempted to understand the coping strategies used by Black women (Ward, Wiltshire, Detry, & Brown, 2013). Consequently, studies have found that Black women use a variety of coping strategies including: support networks, religious coping, and self-care (Holden, Jackson, Ponterotto, 2015).

John Henryism

James (1994) developed the John Henryism hypothesis based on the legend of John Henry, where a Black man had the remarkable ability to drive steel pins in railroad tracks. In time, a machine was built to do John Henry’s job. In order to not become obsolete, John Henry raced against the machine. Although he won the competition, it came at a great cost, as John Henry died from the physical and emotional exhaustion from the competition. Accordingly, John
Henryism was defined as the prolonged, high-effort psychological response to psychosocial stressors, as defined by James (1994).

John Henryism is the determination to succeed through hard work in the face of great adversity. This style of coping may be especially salient in the Black population due to
the experience of historical and contemporary racism and economic adversity (James, 1994). Individuals who employ this style of active coping would have a high sense of control, a strong determination to succeed, and a general tendency to not seek help. This sense of control promotes an active approach to solving problems, especially in an oppressive society.

John Henryism, then, is particularly relevant to the social experience of Blacks in the United States. Empirical research supports this view, with research demonstrating that this style of coping is more prevalent in Blacks than in Whites (Hudson, Neighbors, Geronimus, & Jackson, 2016). Moreover, the John Henry style of coping is conceptually related to the image of a “Strong Black Woman,” (Bronder, Speight, Witherspoon, & Thomas, 2014).  Black women are often perceived by others and themselves as being strong, psychologically invulnerable, and emotionally secure (Romero, 2000).

Steven-Watkins, Sharma, Knighton, Oser, and Leukefeld (2014) examined the role of culturally relevant factors such as spirituality, self-esteem, and social support as significant correlates of John Henryism Active Coping among African American female trauma survivors. The study utilized secondary data from the B-WISE project (Black Women in a Study of Epidemics) with a sample of 161 community-based Black women with a self-reported history of trauma. Results indicate that participants with higher self-esteem and existential well-being were more likely to cope actively with daily life stressors. Conversely, perceived social support from family and significant others was not significantly associated with active coping among the women.

Similarly, Bronder, Speight, Witherspoon, and Thomas (2014) investigated the John Henryism coping strategy as a contributor to health disparities in both Black women. The study utilized 314 Black participants aged 18-70 in the Midwest. Consequently, this study found
a positive relationship between John Henryism and mental health. Higher amounts of the John Henry style of active coping were related to lower amounts of depressive symptoms. Individuals with less depressive symptomatology were likely to have more John Henryism. Further, income was inversely related to depression suggesting that having a lower income is connected with having more depressive symptoms. Additionally, perceived family support had the strongest relationship with John Henryism. Therefore, the informal supports available to an individual may impact the amount of support they perceive themselves to have.

Informal Social Support

The term, informal social support, refers to any form of assistance from members of an individual’s social network, such as family, friends and neighbors (Taylor, Chatters, Woodward, & Brown, 2013). Informal social support is distinct from the types of assistance and services that may be provided by public or private health and social welfare organizations and agencies. Prior research indicates that informal support networks are highly significant for Blacks in the U.S., as three out of four African Americans report receiving support from family on a frequent basis (Lincoln, Taylor, Chatters, 2013). Social support is linked to fewer depressive symptoms and decreased levels of psychological distress (Taylor, Chae, Lincoln, & Chatters, 2015; Sultan, Norris, Avendano, Roberts, Davis; 2014) and African Americans with low levels of social support report more suicidal ideation and attempts (Kleiman & Liu, 2013).

Considering that studies regarding the social support of ethnic minorities and social support was lacking, Nguyen, Chatters, Taylor, and  Mouzon (2015) examined the social supports and interaction to diverse subjective well being indicators in 837 African Americans  aged 55 or older. According to the results, subjective closeness to family was related to higher levels of life satisfaction and happiness, but not self-esteem. However, closeness to friends was associated with higher levels of happiness and self-esteem, but not life satisfaction.

In a longitudinal study, Seawell, Cutrona, and Russell (2014) examined the role of general and tailored social support in mitigating the deleterious impact of racial discrimination on depressive symptoms and optimism in 590 Black participants. Participants reported racial discrimination however, participants also reported being very optimistic as well as reported relatively few depressive symptoms.  Although it was hypothesized that social support for racial discrimination would reduce depressive symptoms and increase optimism received mixed results. Results indicated that the unique effect of tailored social support was apparent in its ability to decrease depressive symptoms over time if it increased over the same period. Further, results indicated that Black women who received high levels of social support for racial stressors were protected from the negative impact of racial discrimination on their depressive symptoms.

In contrast, women who received low levels of race-related social support and reported high levels of racial discrimination experienced the highest level of depressive symptoms. Taken together, results suggest that Black women should be encouraged to develop and maintain social support networks that provide tailored support in order to cope with the deleterious effects racism can have on psychological well-being.

To give further insight to the topic, Levine, Taylor, Nguyen, Chatters, and Himle (2015) investigated the informal support networks and Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)  in a population of  3,570 African Americans and 1,621 Blacks of Caribbean descent. Overall, the results indicate that emotional closeness and contact with family or friends can be protective factors for SAD and that negative interaction with family is a risk factor for SAD for these populations. Additionally, more frequent negative interaction with family members was associated with lifetime and 12-month SAD for both African Americans and Black Caribbeans. These results support previous findings regarding that more frequent negative interactions with family has also been linked to increased odds for having higher levels of psychiatric distress and depression in U.S. Black populations (Taylor et al., 2015).

Religious Coping

Research into religious coping has increased in recent years as well (Gall & Guirguis-Younger, 2013). Many successful health promotion interventions have been implemented in collaboration with Black churches (Hankerson & Weissman, 2012; Williams, Gorman, & Hankerson, 2014). Religion provides ways to respond to events, such as praying, seeking spiritual support, and engaging in religious rituals. These religious schemas and behaviors may, in turn, facilitate positive coping outcomes by helping caregivers to process negative events, find meaning, develop positive or hopeful expectations, and execute coping plans (Pearce, Medoff, Lawrence, & Dixon, 2016). As a result, the use religion and religious coping methods may be particularly relevant in exploring  the lack of psychological help seeking in Blacks.

Holt, Clark, Debnam, and Roth (2014) examined the role of religious coping
as a mediator of the relationship between religious involvement and health behaviors among 2,370 Black adults. Individuals high in religious beliefs tended to report high levels of positive and low levels of negative religious coping. Further, findings suggest that religious beliefs,
such as having a close personal relationship with a higher power, are associated with greater, more positive health behaviors such as vegetable consumption. Conversely, negative religious coping appeared to play a role in the relationship between religious beliefs and more negative health behaviors such as greater alcohol consumption.

Shervin (2014) investigated the main and buffering effects of positive religious coping on the association between the number of chronic medical conditions and major depressive disorder (MDD) among 3,750 African Americans, 1,438 Caribbean Blacks and 891 Non-Hispanic Whites. Results of the study indicated that multiple chronic conditions were associated with higher odds of MDD across all ethnic groups. Additionally, religious coping was associated with lower rates of MDD among Caribbean Blacks but not African Americans and non-Hispanic Whites. Overall, these findings are similar to the research that suggests African Americans and Caribbean Blacks have higher levels of religious coping than non-Hispanic Whites (Trevino, Archambault,Schuster,Richardson, & Moye, 2012).

Kidwai, Mancha, Brown and Eaton (2013) assessed the effect of religious attendance and spirituality on the relationship between negative life events and psychological distress using 1,071 individuals aged 30-65 years old from Baltimore. Results of the study indicate that  negative events during the past year are positively related to current distress. Additionally, respondents who attended religious services had significantly lower distress as compared to those who never attended services.

Criterion

*(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

This section provides a broad, balanced overview and synthesis of the existing literature related to the proposed research topic. It identifies topics, themes, trends, and conflicts in research methodology, design, and findings. It describes the literature in related topic areas and its relevance to the research topic and research approach. It provides an overall analysis and synthesis of the existing literature examining the contributions of this literature to the field; identifying the conflicts; and relating the topics, themes, and results to the study topic and research approach. Accurate, empirical research citations are provided for all ideas, concepts, and perspectives. The researcher’s personal opinions or perspectives are not included. (Minimum 30 pages)

This section must be a minimum of 30 pages. The purpose of the minimum number of pages is to ensure that the overall literature review reflects a foundational understanding of the theory or theories, literature and research studies related to the topic. A well-written comprehensive literature review that reflects the current state of research and literature on the topic is expected and will likely exceed 30 pages. Literature review should be updated continuously. This is an ongoing process to dissertation completion. X
Quantitative Studies: Describes each research variable in the study discussing the prior empirical research that has been done on the variables and the relationship between the variables.

Qualitative Studies: Describes the phenomena being explored in the study discussing the prior research that has been done on the phenomena.

X
Themes or Topics (Required): Discusses and synthesizes studies related to the proposed dissertation topic. May include (1) studies describing and/or relating the variables (quantitative) or exploring related phenomena (qualitative), (2) studies on related research such as factors associated with the themes, (3) studies on the instruments used to collect data, (4) studies on the broad population for the study, and/or (5) studies similar to the proposed study. The themes presented and research studies discussed and synthesized in the Review of Literature demonstrates a deep understanding of all aspects of the research topic. X
Methodology Section (required): Discusses and synthesizes the various methodologies and designs that have been used in prior empirical research related to the study. Must use authoritative sources to justify the proposed design. X
Instrumentation Section (required):Provides discussion and justification for the instrumentation selected for the study. This section must argue the appropriateness of the dissertation’s instruments, measures, and/or approaches used to collect data. Empirical research must be used to justify the selection of instrument(s). X
Structures literature review in a logical order, includes actual data and accurate synthesis of results from reviewed studies as related to the learners own topic, not just a summary of the findings. X
Includes in each major section (theme or topic) within the Review of Literature an introductory paragraph that explains why the particular theme or topic was explored relative to the overall dissertation topic. X
Includes in each section within the Review of Literature a summary paragraph(s) that (1) compares and contrasts alternative perspectives on the topic and (2) provides a synthesis of the themes relative to the research topic discussed that emerged from the literature, and (3) identifies how themes are relevant to the proposed dissertation topic. X
Provides additional arguments for the need for the study that was defined in the Background to the Problem section. X
Ensures that for every in-text citation a reference entry exists. Conversely, for every reference list entry there is a corresponding in-text citation. Note: The accuracy of citations and quality of sources must be verified by learner, chair and committee members. X
Uses a range of references including founding theorists, peer-reviewed empirical research studies from scholarly journals, and government/foundation research reports. Note: A minimum of 50 peer-reviewed, empirical research articles are required for the literature review. X
Verifies that 75% of all references are scholarly sources within the past 5 years. The 5 year time frame is referenced at the time of the proposal defense date and at the time of the dissertation defense date. Note: Websites, dictionaries, publications without dates (n.d.), are not considered scholarly sources and should not be cited or present in reference list. X
Avoids overuse of books and dissertations. Books: Maximum of 10 scholarly books that present cutting edge views on a topic, are research based, or are seminal works. Dissertations: Maximum of 5 published dissertations. X
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format. X
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

Summary

Black women exist in a sociohistorical context which has included a past of enslavement, racial discrimination and oppression and a legacy of discrimination that has resulted in the uneven allocation of resources evident today. In a contemporary context, these women have interfaced with stereotypical notions of themselves in conjunction with social and economic realities that have impacted their psychological and overall well being. The strong Black woman schema has been introduced as a way to explain one way that Black women have learned to cope with these various realities.

Although many themes related to this construct exist, the present study will utilize a particular version of the construct that has theoretical and empirical underpinnings. This construct is comprised of the three factors of caretaking, self reliance and affect regulation, and have been shown to relate to the psychological health of Black women. Although researchers have begun to investigate this construct and have demonstrated its relationship to stress and social support in Black women, this construct has not been examined in relationship of help seeking within this population.

Currently, the literature evidences many gaps in this field. The majority of the existent research on the Strong Black Woman schema and help-seeking does not account for gender and culturally relevant coping styles or influences for these women. The present study, therefore seeks to add to the literature, a culturally relevant investigation of coping for Black women in regards help seeking. The SBW schema is proposed as a cultural coping mechanism in this context and as a possible variable in the relationship between help seeking in Black women.

Chapter 3 highlights the methodology and research design derived from the research questions. Furthermore, the following chapter includes a review of the problems statement, research questions and hypotheses, as well as, additional discussion on instrumentation, population and sample size, as well as, specific details related to data collection and analysis. Finally, the proceeding chapter addresses ethical considerations, limitations and delimitations of the research findings and closes with a brief summary of Chapter 3.

Criterion

*(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
Chapter 2 Summary

This section restates what was written in Chapter 2 and provides supporting citations for key points. The summary section reflects that the learner has done his/her “due diligence” to become well-read on the topic and can conduct a study that will add to the existing body of research and knowledge on the topic. It synthesizes the information from the chapter to define the “gaps” in or “identified research needs” arising from the literature, the theory(ies) or model(s) to provide the foundation for the study, the problem statement, the primary research question, the methodology, the design, the variables or phenomena, the data collection instruments or sources, and the population to be studied. It then provides a transition discussion to Chapter 3. (Minimum one to two pages)

Synthesizes the information from all of the prior sections in the Literature Review using it to define the key strategic points for the research. X
Summarizes the gaps and needs in the background and introduction describing how it informs the problem statement. X
Identifies the theory(ies) or model(s) describing how they inform the research questions. X
Justifies the design, variables or phenomena, data collection instruments or sources, and population to be studied. X
Builds a case (argument) for the study in terms of the value of the research and how the research questions emerged from the review of literature X
Reflects that the Learner has done his or her “due diligence” to synthesize the existing empirical research and write a comprehensive literature review on the research topic. X
Summarizes key points in Chapter 2 and transitions into Chapter 3. X
The Chapter is correctly formatted to dissertation template using the Word Style Tool and APA standards. Writing is free of mechanical errors. X
All research presented in the Chapter is scholarly, topic-related, and obtained from highly respected, academic, professional, original sources. In-text citations are accurate, correctly cited and included in the reference page according to APA standards. X
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format. X
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

Chapter 3: Methodology

Introduction

Although studies have been conducted, there is limited research regarding the cultural factors, especially gender schemas such as the SBW schema, which may be impacting the decision to seek psychological help. As a result, the purpose of this quantitative correlational research is to determine if and to what extent a relationship exists between the Strong Black Woman race-gender schema and mental health seeking attitudes in 384 Black women aged 18-65 in a Southern State in the United States of America.  The SBW schema has been investigated in several studies regarding internalization of the SBW schema and psychological distress, low self-esteem, chronic health conditions, and participation in risky sexual behaviors (Brown,Webb-Bradley, Cobb, Spaw,  & Aldridge, 2014; Lewis & Neville, 2015; Woods-Giscombé, Lobel, Zimmer, Wiley Cené, & Corbie-Smith, 2015).

This chapter will begin with a review of the problem statement and by restating the research questions and hypotheses. The proposed methodology and research design will then be presented with special care taken to connect methodology to the goals of the research. In the next section of the chapter, the researcher will describe the research population and sampling method to be used. Included in this section will be the results of an a G power analysis used to determine sample size requirements for anticipated statistical analyses.

A section on instrumentation will follow in which the survey to be used in this study will be described, with emphasis on the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) and the Intentions to Seek Mental Health Services (IASMHS), which will be used to measure the internalization of schema and the intentions to seek psychological help respectively (see Appendix A). The researcher will then turn the discussion to study validity.  The chapter will then move on to consider questions of reliability. Data from the existing literature on the reliability of both measurements will be presented.

Next, the researcher will describe the details of data collection and data management in sufficient detail so that other researchers could replicate the study if they desired to do so. Plans for data analysis will follow, which outline the steps through which data will be prepared for analysis and then statistically evaluated so as to address the study’s research questions and hypotheses. Measures taken to protect the rights and confidentiality of study participants and to otherwise meet the ethical principles and guidelines of the Belmont Report (Resea & Ryan, 1978) will be discussed and the researcher will conclude the chapter by noting study limitations and delimitations as well as a summary of the chapter.

Criterion

*(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
CHAPTER 3 INTRODUCTION

This section includes both a restatement of the research focus and the Purpose Statement for the study from Chapter 1 to reintroduce reader to the need for the study and a description of contents of the chapter. (Minimum two to three paragraphs)

The Introduction summarizes the research focus, and the purpose statement to reintroduce the reader to the study. This section also outlines the expectations for this chapter. X
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format. X
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

Statement of the Problem

Given that the core expectations of the SBW schema include strength, self-silence, and self-reliance, Black women may feel that seeking psychological help is inconsistent with their culture.  Consequently, it is not known if and to what extent there is a relationship between the internalization of the Strong Black Woman schema and help seeking attitudes. Although prior studies show that there is a negative link between the Strong Black Woman Schema and depression in middle class African American women, few quantitative studies have not been conducted regarding attitudes towards seeking help (Offut, 2013).

Criterion

*(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

This section restates the problem for the convenience of the reader. This section is a summary of the related section in Chapter 1. (Minimum one to two paragraphs)

The research problem is restated for the convenience of the reader. This section aligns to the related section in Chapter 1. X
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format. X
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

 

Research Question(s) or Hypotheses

The overarching question to be addressed in this study is if and to what extent there is a relationship between the internalization of the Strong Black Woman schema and help seeking attitudes. Thus, Strong Black Woman Schema Internalization is the non-manipulated, interval scale independent variable measures along each of the 3 dimensions (self-reliance, affect regulation, and self-sacrifice) The interval scale dependent variable is intentions to seek help measure along each of the 3 dimensions (psychological openness, help seeking propensity, and indifference to stigma ). The instrument used to measure internalization of the Strong Black Woman schema will be the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) which is described in detail in the Instrumentation section of this chapter. Four research questions will be addressed in the study as listed below, with corresponding null and alternative hypotheses:

R1: Is there a relationship between internalization of the Strong Black Woman schema and help seeking behaviors?
H01: There is not a significant relationship between internalization of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) and help seeking attitudes as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H1: There is a significant relationship between internalization of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS)  and help seeking attitudes as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
R2: Is there a relationship between the self-reliance domain of the Strong Black Woman schema and psychological openness, help-seeking propensity, and indifference to stigma domains of help seeking attitudes?
H02: There is not a significant relationship between the self-reliance domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) and the psychological openness domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H2: There is a significant relationship between the self-reliance domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) and the psychological openness domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H03: There is not a significant relationship between the self-reliance domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) and the help seeking propensity domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H3: There is a significant relationship between the self-reliance domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS)  and the help seeking propensity domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H04: There is not a significant relationship between the self-reliance domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) and the indifference to stigma domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H4: There is a significant relationship between the self-reliance domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) and the indifference to stigma domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
R3: Is there a relationship between the affect regulation domain of the Strong Black Woman schema and psychological openness, help-seeking propensity, and indifference to stigma domains of help seeking attitudes?
H05: There is not a significant relationship between the affect regulation domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS)  and the psychological openness domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H5: There is a significant relationship between the affect regulation domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) and the psychological openness domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H06: There is not a significant relationship between the affect regulation domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS)  and the help seeking propensity domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H6: There is a significant relationship between the affect regulation domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) and the help seeking propensity domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H07: There is not a significant relationship between the affect regulation domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) and the indifference to stigma domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H7: There is a significant relationship between the affect regulation domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) and the indifference to stigma domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
R4: Is there a relationship between the self-sacrificing domain of the Strong Black Woman schema and psychological openness, help-seeking propensity, and indifference to stigma domains of help seeking attitudes?
H8,0: There is not a significant relationship between the self-sacrifice domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS)  and the psychological openness domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H8: There is a significant relationship between the self-sacrifice domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Cultural Construct Scale (SBWCCS) and the psychological openness domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H09: There is not a significant relationship between the self-sacrifice domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) and the help seeking propensity domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H9: There is a significant relationship between the self-sacrifice domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) and the help seeking propensity domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H010: There is not a significant relationship between the self-sacrifice domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS)  and the indifference to stigma domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).
H10: There is a significant relationship between the self-sacrifice domain of the Strong Black Woman Schema as measured by the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SBWAS) and the indifference to stigma domain as measured by The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS).

Criterion

*(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
RESEARCH QUESTIONS AND/OR HYPOTHESES

This section restates the research question(s) and the hypotheses or phenomena and explains why the selected design is the best approach to answer the research questions. Further, it defines the variables and/or groups. The section also discusses the approaches to collecting the data to answer the research questions. This section expands on the related section in Chapter 1. (Minimum one to two pages)

For a qualitative study, restates the research questions and the phenomena for the study from Chapter 1.

For a quantitative study, restates the research questions from Chapter 1, presents the matching hypotheses and operationalizes the variables. Research questions must align directly with the problem and purpose statements,

X
Describes the nature and sources of necessary data to answer the research questions (primary versus secondary data, specific people, institutional archives, Internet open sources, etc.).

For a quantitative study, the section describes the instrument(s) or data source(s) to collect the data for each and every variable.

For a qualitative study, The section describes the instrument(s) or data source(s) to collect the data to answer each research question.

X
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format. X
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

 

Research Methodology

Previous researchers have chosen to collect qualitative data on the Strong Black Woman Schema (Abrams, Maxwell, Pope, & Belgrave, 2014; Watson & Hunter, 2016) . Conversely, researchers utilizing the Inventory of Attitudes toward Seeking Mental Health Services measurement have chosen to collect quantitative data (Kessler, Agines, & Bowen, 2015; Nam, Choi, Lee, Lee, Kim, Lee, 2013; Watson & Hunter, 2015). However, studies that attempt to evaluate precisely the strength of relationships between variables that are measured numerically require using a quantitative methodology (Johnson & Christensen, 2012). Thus, quantitative methodology was chosen for use in the proposed study. The goal of the research is to evaluate the strength and statistical significance of the relationship between the predictor  (Internalization of the Strong Black Woman schema) and the criterion (intentions to seek psychological help) as measured by the SWBAS and IASHMS. Additionally, the selected methodology answers the call of previous research to extend the literature regarding the Strong Black Woman schema and help seeking behaviors in a quantitative manner (Abrams, Maxwell, Pope, Belgrave, 2014; Nelson, Cardemil, Adeoye, 2016; Watson & Hunter, 2015).

It would not be appropriate to utilize a qualitative method in the proposed study. Qualitative studies explore in great depth and detail a limited number of participants’ subjective experiences and perceptions using a data gathering process that typically utilizes interviews, direct observations, narrative self-reports, and similar methods (Miles, Huberman, & Saldana 2014). However, in the context of this study, the purpose is determine if and to what extent a relationship exists between the variables as opposed to providing a deeper understanding of each variable.

A mixed-method methodology is appropriate in situations where, in addition to analyzing numerical data, the researcher interacts directly with study participants through interviews or direct observation to collect qualitative data (Johnson & Christensen, 2012). As noted above, this study will involve no such interaction, and so a mixed-method methodology would also be inappropriate here. In sum, a quantitative methodology is considered to be the most appropriate approach to addressing the research questions posed in this study.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

This section describes the research methodology for the study (quantitative, qualitative, or mixed) and explains the rationale for selecting this particular methodology as opposed to the alternative methodologies. (Minimum one to two pages)

Elaborates on the research methodology (from Chapter 1) for the study (quantitative, qualitative, or mixed). Provides the rationale for selecting the particular methodology supported by empirical studies in the research literature. Justifies why the methodology was selected as opposed to alternative methodologies. X
Uses authoritative source(s) to justify the selected methodology. Note: Do not use introductory research textbooks (such as Creswell) to justify the research design and data analysis approach. X
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format. X
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

 

Research Design

Although there are several research designs from which to choose, is is proposed that data be collected for this study using a correlational design.  Quantitative, correlational research can be defined as a study in which two variables are measured between the same sample group to determine if there is a relationship between the variables.  This design is proposed because it allows the researcher to relate internalization of the Strong Black Woman schema and help seeking attitudes. Correlational research is non-experimental in nature (Bryman, 2012). Therefore, cause and effect is not considered.

A true experimental design was ruled out for use in this study because experimental research designs require that the researcher be able to manipulate the independent variable and measure the resulting changes in the dependent variable (Johnson & Christensen, 2012). Kerlinger (1986) expressed that, “Nonexperimental research is systematic empirical inquiry in which the scientist does not have direct control of independent variables because their manifestations have already occurred or because they are inherently not manipulable” (p. 348).
The alternative to an experimental design is a non-experimental design, where two commonly used options are available, i.e., the correlational research design and the causal-comparative research design (Johnson & Christensen, 2012).

However, correlational research is a better choice than non-experimental causal comparative research because Schenker and Rumrill (2004) noted that causal comparative research design  is appropriate when the researcher cannot manipulate the independent variable. In this study, the researcher could not manipulate the independent variable, as internalization of the Strong Black woman schema is determined by the participant. Consequently, the correlational approach is appropriate for the study because the focus is to investigate the potential relationship between the variables are opposed to cause and effect.  Furthermore, a correlational research design allows the examination of the strength of relationship between variables. This research intends to investigate the strength of the relationship between internalization of the Strong Black Woman schema and help seeking attitudes.

Criterion

*(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
RESEARCH DESIGN

This section describes in detail the specific design for the study and describes why it is the best design to collect the data to answer the research needed for the study. It explains exactly how the selected design was used to facilitate collection of data for each and every variable (for a quantitative study) or how the selected design was used to facilitate collection of data to describe the nature of the phenomena in detail (for a qualitative study). It identifies the specific instruments and data sources to be used to collect all of the different data required for the study. This section expands on the Nature of the Research Design for the Study section in Chapter 1. (Minimum one to two pages)

Elaborates on the research design from Chapter 1. Provides the rationale for selecting the particular research design supported by empirical references. Justifies why the design was selected as the best approach to collect the needed data, as opposed to alternative designs. X
Describes how the specific, selected research design will be used to collect the type of data needed to answer the research questions and the specific instruments or data sources that will be used to collect this data. For quantitative studies provide the variable structure and state the unit of analysis. X
Uses authoritative source(s) to justify the design. Note: Do not use introductory research textbooks (such as Creswell) to justify the research design and data analysis approach. X
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format. X
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

 

Population and Sample Selection

One population will be targeted in this study, specifically, the population of Black women ages 18-65. The sample of this population will include 119 Black women from a Southern region of the United States based on a GPower Sample size calculation. All 119 participants will be invited to participate in the proposed survey research through 2 specific organizations (Grace, Glam, and Mercy & Black Educators Rock)  that have granted site authorization. The samples of Black women who agree to participate in the study will be considered to a convenience sample.

Convenience samples are described by Salkind (2000) as samples that are available and willing to participate. Unlike probability sampling procedures (e.g., simple random sampling), which produces a sample that can be assumed to be representative of the population from which the sample was drawn (at least if the sample is relatively large), convenience sampling suffers from the disadvantage of producing a sample that cannot be assumed to be equivalent to the population from which the sample was drawn. This fact constrains the external validity of the findings, i.e., the degree to which study findings can be generalized to the intended population.

As a result, the population or populations to which results can be generalized must be defined after the fact, i.e., the characteristics of the convenience sample will describe the characteristics of the hypothetical population to which findings can be generalized. In the present proposed study, the population to which findings will generalize will be Black women aged 18-65 in the Southern region of the United States who are willing to participate in a research study regarding the Strong Black Woman Schema and intentions to seek mental health help.

Criterion

*(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
POPULATION AND SAMPLE SELECTION

This section discusses the setting, general population, target population, and study sample. The discussion of the sample includes the research terminology specific to the type of sampling for the study as well as how the sample population and final sample will be protected. This section provides a detailed description of the population and sample which were identified in the Research Design for the Study section in Chapter 1 as well as research considerations relevant to the sample and population. (Minimum one to two pages)

Describes the general population (i.e., students with disabilities), target population (i.e. students with disabilities in one specific district – geographic location) and the study sample (students with disabilities in the district that participated in the study – actual study sample). X
Describes the study sample size. Provides evidence (based on the empirical research) literature that sample size is adequate for the research design and meets GCU required sample size requirements (listed in criteria below). X
Quantitative Sample Size Requirements:

Absolute Minimum: 50 cases or participants or 40 cases per cell. Applicable to studies that use frequencies/descriptive statistics and parametric statistical tests (t-tests, ANOVA, correlation, regression analysis)—additional requirements related to the use of certain statistical analysis procedures may increase that number. General rule of thumb on survey research = 10 subjects per survey question. An a-priori and/or post hoc Power Analysis is required to justify the study sample size based on the anticipated effect size and selected design.

 

Qualitative Sample Size Requirements:

Case Study: Minimum 10 participants or cases; Recommended Target=20 due to attrition; minimum of 3 sources of data; must demonstrate triangulation of the data. Case study interviews may include closed-ended questions with a dominance of open-ended questions; should be no less than 30 minutes; at least 15 pages of transcribed data, single spaced, 12 pt. Times New Roman.

Phenomenology: 10-15 interviews; no closed ended questionnaires allowed; Interviews should be 60-90 minutes. There should be a minimum of 60 pages of transcribed data, single spaced, 12 pt. Times New Roman.

Descriptive: 12-15 interviews or cases with at least 3 sources of data; 30-60 pages of transcribed data, single spaced, 12 pt. Times New Roman.

Narrative or Grounded Theory: Minimum of 30 pages of transcribed data from interviews, open-ended questionnaire, or other data sources. Transcript to be 12 Point and single spaced. Studies typically have a minimum of 10-20 interviews or40-60 open-ended questionnaires. Interviews are 60-90 minutes in length. Grounded theory studies must yield a theory or model.

X
Defines and describes the sampling procedures (such as convenience, purposive, snowball, random, etc.) supported by scholarly research sources. Includes discussion of sample selection, and assignment to groups (if applicable), and strategies to account for participant attrition. X
Describes the site authorization process, confidentiality measures, study participation requirements, and geographic specifics. X
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format. X
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

 

Instrumentation OR Sources of Data

The survey that is proposed for use in this study will begin with a brief welcome, followed by the informed consent statement and demographics. The remaining sections of the survey will consist of the latest, 30-item version of the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (SWBAS) developed in 2003 by Thompson and revised by Green (2011)(see Appendix) as well as the 24 item version of the Inventory of Attitudes Towards Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS) (MacKenzie et al., 2004)  (see Appendix ). Permission to use the SWBAS was obtained from Dr. Brandeis Green, on March 16, 2017. This letter of permission for use can be found in Appendix. No permission is required to use the IASMHS and a copy of this scale denoting no permission for use can be found in Appendix.

Responses for the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale are measured on a Likert scale, ranging from 1 (Never) to 5 (Almost always). Higher scores indicate greater identification with this coping style. Items include statements such as ―It pleases me when others give me feedback that they see me as strong, and ―People think I am strong.  Factor analysis has revealed three subscales: affect regulation, caretaking and self reliance (Hamin, 2008, Green, 2012, & Thompson, 2003). Additionally, total scores can be obtained for the entire scale or for the subscales alone. The original author, Thompson (2003),  found adequate internal consistency for the scale, as measured by Cronbach‘s alphas: α= .74, for the total scale and the three subscales were caretaking (.66), affect regulation (.72), and self reliance (.60). After revision, Green (2011)also found adequate internal consistency: α = .80 for the total scale, and the three subscales of caretaking (.64), affect regulation (.78) and self reliance (.82).

The IASMHS is a 24 item scale and has three internally consistent factors: psychological openness, help-seeking propensity, and indifference to stigma (Mackenzie et al. 2004). Response options range from 0 (“Somewhat Disagree”) to 4 (“Agree”). Internal consistency reliability coefficients for the overall measure and the subscales have been found to be strong (MacKenzie et al. 2004) and MacKenzie et al. (2006) reported that the IASMHS demonstrated good convergent validity. Participants are asked to indicate which response best represents their level of agreement with statements such as, “Important people in my life would think less of me if they were to find out that I was experiencing psychological problems.”

Criterion

*(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
INSTRUMENTATION OR SOURCES OF DATA

This section identifies and describes the types of data that were collected as well as the specific instruments and sources used to collect those data. For quantitative studies it also describes the specific type of scale of measurement used in an instrument or used to define the different groups. (Minimum one to three pages)

Data Collection Instruments: Provides a detailed discussion of the instrumentation and data collection which includes validity and reliability of the data. Includes citations from original publications by instrument developers (and subsequent users as appropriate). X
Data Collection Instruments: Describes the structure of each data collection instrument and data sources (tests, questionnaires, interviews, observations data bases, media, etc.). Specifies the type and level of data collected with each instrument. X
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format. X
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

Validity

Hammersley (2008) notes that a study’s validity springs from three sources: (a) Validity of the measures (i.e., construct validity, the degree to which study instruments measure the constructs that are claimed); (b) internal validity (i.e., the degree to which observed causal effects can be unambiguously attributed to the independent variable whose effects are being evaluated); and (c) external validity (i.e., the degree to which the study’s findings can be generalized to other people, places, and times.  Elmore (2010) noted that validity does not reside in the results of a study but rather in the researcher’s interpretation of those results. Further, Elmore (2010) asserts that researchers who provide evidence of validity strengthen their arguments and rule out potential confounds. There is no concern of internal validity due to the fact that this proposed research does not attempt to determine a causal relationship. Conversely, the validity of the measures and external validity must be discussed.

Validity of the Measurements
The IASMHS initially included 41-items, however the results an exploratory factor
analysis (EFA) using maximum likelihood estimation among a sample of 208 adult
volunteers (Mackenzie et al., 2004) reduced the number of items in the scale to 24. Internal consistency coefficients for the IASMHS subscales were reported to be good with Cronbach’s alphas of .82 (psychological openness), .76 (help-seeking propensity) and .79 (indifference to stigma).

Recently Hyland et al. (2015), investigated the construct validity, composite reliability and concurrent validity of the IASMHS. The results found consistency coefficients for the IASMHS subscales alphas of .70 (psychological openness), .76 ( help-seeking propensity) and .77 (indifference to stigma) thereby possessing satisfactory composite reliability.  Thompson found adequate internal consistency for the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale, as measured by Cronbach‘s alphas: α= .74, for the total scale and the three subscales were caretaking (.66), affect regulation (.72), and self reliance (.60). Green (2011)also found adequate internal 64 consistency: α = .80 for the total scale, and the three subscales of caretaking (.64), affect regulation (.78) and self reliance (.82).

Criterion

*(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
VALIDITY

This section describes and defends the procedures used to determine the validity of the data collected appropriate to the methodology conducted. (Minimum two to four paragraphs or approximately one page)

Quantitative Studies: Provides specific validity statistics for quantitative instruments, identifying how they were developed. Validated surveys cannot be used in part or adapted. Validated instruments borrowed by the learner must be included in the proposal/dissertation appendices as a pdf or jpeg document along with the learner’s word file of his/her version of the instrument (whose content should be identical with that of the original pdf). NOTE: Learners should not modify or develop quantitative instruments without permission from the Director of Dissertations.

Qualitative Studies: Establishes validity to ensure the data that is collected is true and certain. Processes include collection of multiple sources of data; triangulation; member checking; quasi-statistics; review of data analysis by others; expert panel review of developed instruments; and/or practicing interviews and observations.

X
Appendices must include copies of instruments, qualitative data collection protocols, codebooks, and permission letters from instrument authors (for validated instruments, surveys, interview guides, etc.) X
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format. X
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

 

Reliability

Yilmaz (2013) asserts that reliability means consistency or the degree to which a research instrument measures a given variable consistently every time it is used under the same condition with the same subjects. One way to determine if the scores on an instrument are stable over repeated assessments than to administer the instrument once, wait an appropriate period of time, administer the instrument again to the same individuals, and then evaluate the consistency of the two sets of scores using a correlation or other measure of score agreement. That methodology, whether used with the same form of the instrument or alternative forms, is called test-retest reliability (Miller, Loveler, & McIntire, 2013).
No reports of the test-retest reliability of the SBWAS nor the IAMSHS were found in the literature.  However, the Cronbach’s alpha coefficients for both instrument’s subscales have been reported by several authors ( Green 2012; Hyland et al., 2015; Mackenzie, 2004; Thomspon (2003).  Each measurement has consistently been associated with alpha coefficient values ranging from .64 to .82. It is important to note that the care-taking subscale of the SBWAS has consistently scored in the questionable range according to Cronbach’s alpha. Consequently, this lowers the generalizability of the results regarding the caretaking subscale.

Criterion

*(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
RELIABILITY

This section describes and defends the procedures used to determine the reliability of the data collected appropriate to the methodology conducted. (Minimum two to four paragraphs or approximately one page)

Quantitative Studies: Provides specific reliability statistics for quantitative instruments, identifying how the statistics were developed. Explains specific approaches on how reliability will be addressed for qualitative data collection approaches.

Qualitative Studies: Establishes consistency and repeatability of data collection through in-depth documented methodology; detailed interview/observation/data collection protocols and guides; creation of research data-base; and/or use of triangulation.

X
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format. X
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

 

Data Collection and Management

The population for this study will include all Black women in the Southern region of the United States aged 18-65 from various socioeconomic backgrounds with a sample of 119 Black women being selected.  This purposive sample will be a solid basis for a smaller sample that may be replicated as a larger study. However, the small sample size will be considered a limitation of the study. To ensure that participants’ rights as human subjects are protected, the proposed study protocol and materials will be reviewed and approved by the Grand Canyon University Institutional Review Board before any data collection begins. That IRB approval letter will be included as an appendix in the dissertation.

In order to collect data, the researcher will recruit participants from the two sites that have provided site authorization. Only participants who agree to the terms of the informed consent by checking the appropriate box at the conclusion of the document will then proceed to the rest of the survey where data will be collected on demographics, the Strong Black Woman Schema, and Help Seeking. Participation in the study is entirely voluntary and participants will be free to discontinue their participation at any time without penalty of any kind. Once consent has been obtained, the women will continue to the survey instruments.

The data will be collected and stored on SurveyMonkey, a professional survey site. No data will be collected that could be used to identify individual participants. Although SurveyMonkey is capable of collecting the IP addresses of respondents, this feature will be turned off to ensure that respondents have complete anonymity. Data collected for this study will be stored for a minimum of three years on an independent USB flash drive in a secure location that is accessible only to the researcher. The flash drive will be physically destroyed following the end of that three -year period.

Criterion

*(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
DATA COLLECTION AND MANAGEMENT

This section details the entirety of the process used to collect the data. It describes each step of the data collection process in such a way that another researcher could replicate the study. (Minimum one to three pages)

Quantitative Studies: Describes the procedures for the actual data collection that would allow replication of the study by another researcher, including how each instrument or data source was used, how and where data were collected, and recorded. Includes a linear sequence of actions or step-by-step of procedures used to carry out all the major steps for data collection. Includes a workflow and corresponding timeline, presenting a logical, sequential, and transparent protocol for data collection that would allow another researcher to replicate the study.

Qualitative Studies: Provides detailed description of data collection process that would allow replication of the study by another researcher, including all sources of data and methods used, such as interviews, member checking, observations, surveys, and expert panel review. Note: The collected data must be sufficient in breadth and depth to answer the research question(s) and interpreted and presented correctly, by theme, research question and/or instrument.

X
Describes the procedures for obtaining informed consent and for protecting the rights and well-being of the study sample participants. X
Describes (for both paper-based and electronic data) the data management procedures adopted to maintain data securely, including the length of time data will be kept, where it will be kept, and how it will be destroyed. X
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format. X
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

Data Analysis Procedures

In order to test the hypotheses, a convenience sample of all 119 Black women who agreed to participate in the proposed survey research will be used. The data needed to address the four research questions will come from participant’s survey responses. These responses will include an indication of each respondent’s internalization of the Strong Black Woman schema, which will indicate the level of the independent variable represented by that case. In addition, the survey will provide participants’ responses to the Inventory of Attitudes Towards Seeking Mental Health Services, from which scores on the 3 dimensions of help-seeking will be calculated: help seeking propensity, indifference to stigma, and psychological openness. These 3  dimensions that comprise help seeking will serve as the dependent variables in analyses that answer the three research questions. Additional data on participants’ demographics will support analyses designed to describe the sample.

Except for power analysis, which will be completed using G*Power software, all data analyses will be completed using IBM SPSS (Version 23.0) statistical software. In all analyses, missing data will be handled by using listwise deletion of cases with missing data, i.e., if a participant is missing a score on any of the variables involved in an analysis, that case will be excluded entirely from the analysis. Initially, all variables in the data file will be analyzed using the SPSS Frequencies procedure. By generating frequency distributions for each variable it is possible to identify and delete out-of-range scores and other obviously erroneous data file entries.
Following frequency distributions, SBW schema subscale scores will be calculated for each participant by averaging that participant’s ratings to the ten items that are associated with each of the subscales. Next, Help Seeking Attitudes subscale scores will be calculated for each participant. Outlier scores for both of the scales will be deleted and considered erroneous. Following data cleaning and screening, descriptive statistics will be used to describe the demographic characteristics of the sample.

Analyses that address the research questions will follow. Spearman’s rho correlational analysis will be used to evaluate the relationship between internalization of the SBW schema and each of the three dimensions of the IAMSHS. Following the hypothesis, higher internalization of the schema will result in lower help seeking propensity. On the contrary, lower internalization of the schema will result in higher help seeking propensity.The G power analysis provided in Appendix  shows that the sample size will be adequate to support the analysis if the projected sample size and response rate is achieved. A total sample size of 119 cases is needed to provide statistical power (1 – β) equal to 95% to detect a medium-strength effect in the population ( f = .15) using a significance level of α = .005.

Criterion

*(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
DATA ANALYSIS PROCEDURES

This section describes how the data were collected for each variable or group (quantitative study) or for each research question (qualitative study). It describes the type of data analyzed, identifying the descriptive, thematic, inferential, and/or non-statistical analyses. This section demonstrates that the research analysis is aligned to the specific research design. (Minimum one to three pages)

Lists the research question(s). Also includes the null and alternative hypotheses for quantitative studies. X
Describes in detail the relevant data collected for each stated research question and/or each variable within each hypothesis (if applicable). X
Describes in detail the data management practice including how the raw data was organized and prepared for analysis, i.e., ID matching of respondents who may respond to more than one survey/instrument, coding/recoding of variables, treatment of missing values, scoring, calculations, etc. X
What: Describes, in detail, statistical and non-statistical analysis to be used and procedures used to conduct the data analysis. X
Why: Provides the justification for each of the (statistical and non-statistical) data analysis procedures used in the study. X
How: Demonstrates how the statistical and non-statistical data analysis techniques align with the research questions/design. X
Quantitative Analysis – states the level of statistical significance for each test as appropriate, and describes tests of assumptions for each statistical test.

Qualitative Analysis – evidence of qualitative analysis approach, such as coding and theming process, must be completely described and include the analysis /interpretation process.

X
Provides evidence that quantity and quality of data is sufficient to answer the research questions. This must be present in this section or in an appendix including data samples. X
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format. X
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

 

Ethical Considerations

Few ethical challenges arise from the proposed research.  The researcher will acquire proper IRB review and comply with specific consent requirements to maintain the integrity of the study and reduce ethical concerns. The IRB approval letter will be attached as an appendix to the proposal. To further ensure the ethical procedures, this proposed research will comply with the basic principles of the Belmont Report (1978).

One principle of the Belmont report is the respect of persons. As a result, participation in the study is entirely voluntary and participants are free to skip questions that they do not want to answer or to withdraw from the study entirely at any point with no negative consequences. Another principle of the Belmont Report is beneficence. Although SurveyMonkey© is capable of collecting respondents’ IP addresses, this feature will be turned off. Additionally, in the reporting of results, data will be aggregated and no information from any single respondent will be presented. As a result of this protection, participants in the study will not risk having personal information exposed. Further, the final principle of the Belmont Report, justice, is addressed through the proposed use of adults who volunteer participation.

Lastly, there is always a risk of loss of confidentiality when information is transmitted electronically, but confidentiality will be protected to the greatest extent possible. SurveyMonkey© is an established survey engine platform with state-of-the-art security features. Data collected for this study will be stored for three years on an independent USB flash drive in a secure location that is accessible only to the researcher. The flash drive will be physically destroyed following the end of the three-year period.

Criterion

*(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS

This section discusses the potential ethical issues surrounding the research as well as how human subjects and data will be protected. It identifies how any potential ethical issues have been and will be addressed. (Minimum three to four paragraphs or approximately one page)

Provides a discussion of ethical issues related to the study and the sample population of interest. X
Describes the procedures for obtaining informed consent and for protecting the rights and well-being of the study sample participants. X
Addresses anonymity, confidentiality, privacy, strategies to prevent coercion, and any potential conflict of interest. X
Describes the data management procedures adopted to store and maintain paper and electronic data securely, including the length of time data will be kept, where it will be kept, and how it will be destroyed.

Note: Learners are required to securely maintain and have access to raw data/records for a minimum of three years. If asked by AQR reviewer or CDS representative, learner must provide all evidence of data including source data, Excel files, interview transcripts, evidence of coding or data analysis, or survey results etc. No dissertation will be allowed to move forward in the review process if data are not produced upon request.

X
Includes copy of IRB Informed Consent (Proposal) and IRB Approval letter (Dissertation) in an Appendix. X
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format. X
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

 

Limitations and Delimitations

The limitations are aspects of the study that the researcher had no control over. This proposed research has the following limitations:

1.      All portions of the survey to be used in the data collection assume that participants’ self-reports will be candid and honest. Given that the dependent variables in this study measure participants’ are self-reported there is no alternative to the use of self-report in gathering data. However, the promise of anonymity and confidentiality will encourage candid, honest responding. In addition, Keipi, Oksanen, & Räsänen (2015) have noted that online surveys enhance respondents’ sense of anonymity which would be expected to increase their willingness to express their true sentiments.

2.     The results of this study may not be generalizable to other groups of Black women. Because the studies were conducted online, there may have been a tendency for  participants to be younger in age and of a higher social class than Black women in general.

3.      Sampling by convenience means that study participants are self-selected and thus there are no guarantees that the resulting samples will be representative of the target populations.

The following delimitation is present in this study:

  1. Because the purpose of this research is determine if and to what extent a relationship exists between the variables, the researcher will be collecting only quantitative data. This delimitation prohibited the collection of qualitative information that might have broadened the scope and increased the depth, if a mixed method approach had been selected.
Criterion

*(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
LIMITATIONS AND DELIMITATIONS

This section discusses in detail the limitations and delimitations related to the research methodology and design and potential impacts on the results. (Minimum two to three paragraphs)

Describes any limitations and delimitations related to the methodology, sample, instrumentation, data collection process and analysis. Explains why the existing limitations are unavoidable. Note: This section must be updated as limitations emerge in the data collection/analysis, and then incorporated in Chapter 5 the limitations overall and how the study results were affected. X
Presents strategies to minimize and/or mitigate the negative consequences of limitations and delimitations. X
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format. X
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

Summary

Although help seeking has been explored in a variety of contexts, there is a dearth of research regarding the cultural schema of the Strong Black Woman and help seeking. Given the underutilization of mental health services in the Black community, it is important that the study of help seeking be examined in this population. The purpose of this proposed quantitative, correlational research study is to determine if and to what extent a relationship exists between the strong black woman schema and help seeking attitudes in Black women in the southern region of the United States. A quantitative methodology will be used to determine the relationship. The proposed study will use two measurements to gather data from a convenience sample of 119 Black women ages 18-65. The measurements will  include the Strong Black Woman Attitudes Scale (Green, 2012) and the Inventory of Attitudes Towards Seeking Mental Health Services. Additionally, questions pertaining to demographics will be asked.

In the proposed research design, the non-manipulated, interval scale independent variable will be internalization of the Strong Black Woman schema. Samples of Black women will provide data on their attitudes toward help seeking, the interval scale dependent variable. The relationship between the dimensions of both measurements will be analyzed using Spearman’s Rho correlational analysis. Statistics from this analysis  will quantify the strength of the relationship between internalization of the schema and help seeking attitudes. The results of the analyses will be presented in Chapter 4. Findings will be explained in order of hypotheses before Chapter 4 concludes with a summary.

Criterion

*(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
CHAPTER 3 SUMMARY

This section restates what was written in Chapter 3 and provides supporting citations for key points. It then provides a transition discussion to Chapter 4. (Minimum one to two pages)

Summarizes key points presented in Chapter 3 using authoritative, empirical sources/citations. X
Presents alignment of the 10 strategic points, illustrating how the research questions align with the problem statement, methodology, design, instrumentation, data collection, procedures and data analysis approach. X
Demonstrates in-depth understanding/mastery of the overall research methodology, design and data analysis techniques. X
Ends Chapter 3 with a transition discussion to focus for Chapter 4. X
The Chapter is correctly formatted to dissertation template using the Word Style Tool and APA standards. Writing is free of mechanical errors. X
All research presented in the Chapter is scholarly, topic-related, and obtained from highly respected academic, professional, original sources. In-text citations are accurate, correctly cited and included in the reference page according to APA standards. X
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format. X
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

 

References

Barzun, J., & Graff, H. F. (1992). The Modern researcher: A classic work on research and writing completely revised and brought up to date. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Brands, H. W. (2000). The first American: the life and times of Benjamin Franklin. New York: Doubleday.

Calabrese, R. L. (2006). The elements of an effective dissertation & thesis: a step-by-step guide to getting it right the first time. Lanham, MD: Roman & Littlefield Education.

Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches, 4th edition. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc.

Hacker, D., Somers, N., Jehn, T., & Rosenzweig, J. (2008). Rules for writers. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Nock, A. J. (1943). The memoirs of a superfluous man. New York: Harper & Brothers.

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. (2010). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. (6th edition) (ISBN 10: 1-4338-0559-6; ISBN 13: 978-1-4338-0561-5; ISBN 10: 1-4338-0561-8).

Sprague, J., & Stuart, D.(2000) The speaker’s handbook, Harcourt College Publishers.

Squires, D. A., & Kranyik, R. D. (1995). The comer program: changing school culture. Educational Leadership, 53(4), 29-32.

Strunk, W. I., & White, E.B. (1979). The elements of style. New York: Macmillan Publishing, Inc.

Criterion

*(Score = 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Learner Score Chair Score Methodologist Score Content Expert Score
QUALITY OF SOURCES & REFERENCE LIST

For every in-text citation a reference entry exists; conversely, for every reference list entry there is an in-text citation. Uses a range of references including founding theorists, peer-reviewed empirical research studies from scholarly journals, and government/foundation research reports. The majority of all references must be scholarly, topic-related sources published within the last 5 years. Websites, dictionaries, and publications without dates (n.d.) are not considered scholarly sources and should not be cited or present in the reference list. In-text citations and reference list must comply with APA 6th Ed.

Ensures that for every in-text citation a reference entry exists. Conversely, for every reference list entry there is a corresponding in-text citation. Note: The accuracy of citations and quality of sources must be verified by learner, chair and committee members. X X
Uses a range of references including founding theorists, peer-reviewed empirical research studies from scholarly journals, and government /foundation research reports. Note: A minimum of 50 peer-reviewed, empirical research articles are required for the literature review. X X
Verifies that 75% of all references are scholarly sources within the last 5 years. The 5 year time frame is referenced at the time of the proposal defense date and at the time of the dissertation defense date. Note: Websites, dictionaries, publications without dates (n.d.), are not considered scholarly sources and should not be cited or present in reference list. X X
Avoids overuse of books and dissertations.

Books: Maximum of 10 scholarly books that present cutting edge views on a topic, are research based, or are seminal works.

Dissertations: Maximum of 5 published dissertations.

X X
Section is written in a way that is well structured, has a logical flow, uses correct paragraph structure, uses correct sentence structure, uses correct punctuation, and uses correct APA format. X X
*Score each requirement listed in the criteria table using the following scale:

0 = Item Not Present or Unacceptable. Substantial Revisions are Required.

1 = Item is Present. Does Not Meet Expectations. Revisions are Required.

2 = Item is Acceptable. Meets Expectations. Some Revisions May be Suggested or Required.

3 = Item Exceeds Expectations. No Revisions are Required.

Reviewer Comments:

Appendix A
The Parts of a Dissertation

GCU uses the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition for its dissertation formatting and style guide. The GCU dissertation template complies with APA 6.0 with exceptions as noted in the template and in this formatting guide. A dissertation has three parts: preliminary pages, main text, and supplementary pages. Some preliminary or supplementary pages may be optional or not appropriate to a specific project. The learner should consult with his or her dissertation chair and committee regarding inclusion/exclusion of optional pages.

Preliminary pages. The following preliminary pages precede the main text of the dissertation.

  • Title Page
  • Author’s Name
  • Copyright Page (optional)
  • Committee and Deans Approval Page
  • Learner Signature Page
  • Abstract
  • Dedication Page (optional)
  • Acknowledgements (optional)
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Tables (if you have tables, a list is required)
  • List of Figures (if you have figures, a list is required)

Main text. The main text is divided into five major chapters. Each chapter can be further subdivided into sections and subsections based on the formatting requirements for each college.

  • Chapter 1: Introduction to the Study
  • Chapter 2: Literature Review
  • Chapter 3: Methodology
  • Chapter 4: Data Analysis and Results
  • Chapter 5: Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations

Supplementary pages. Supplementary pages follow the body text, including reference materials and other required or optional addenda.

  • References (required)
  • Appendices (required)
  • IRB Approval Letter
  • Informed Consent Form
  • Copies of Instruments and Permission Letters
  • Appendices (optional)
  • Data analysis, tables and charts if referenced in Chapter 4
  • Lengthy tables or large figures if referenced in other chapters
  • Photographs, artifacts or media related to study results
  • Vitae (optional)
  • Glossary (optional)
  • List of Abbreviations (optional)

Keep in mind that most formatting challenges are found in the preliminary and supplementary pages. Allocate extra time and attention for these sections to avoid delays in the electronic submission process. Also, as elementary as it may seem, run a complete spell and grammar check of your entire document before submission.

Appendix B
IRB Approval Letter

This is a required Appendix.

Appendix C
Informed Consent

This is a required Appendix.

Appendix D
Copy of Instruments and Permissions Letters to Use the Instruments

This is a required Appendix.

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