An Examination of the Black-White Mental Health Paradox

Date

2023

Authors

Berles, Kaylena

Access rights

Worldwide access

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Abstract

Despite lower socioeconomic status and greater environmental stress, Black Americans exhibit more robust mental health than their White counterparts. This surprising relationship between race, socioeconomic status, and mental health has been documented and labeled as the Black-White mental health paradox. Though many hypotheses have been proposed, the reasons behind this paradox are not fully known. This thesis delineates current proposed explanations of the paradox including the somatization, social and family support, religiosity, self-regulation, and self-esteem hypotheses, as well as examines ways in which culture and access to healthcare may be influencing the paradox. Both religiosity and self-esteem are notable in their promise to explain the paradox, and identification with a racial group has the power to influence both of these factors. Given the complexity of the Black-White mental health paradox, further investigation is needed both to identify novel theories and to continue testing previously proposed mechanisms.

Description

Keywords

Mental health., Race., Racial mental health paradox., Sociology., Culture., Healthcare utilization., Black-White mental health paradox.

Citation