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Suicide Grief in African American Mothers: The Roles of Suicide Stigmatization, Attitudes Toward Suicide, and John Henryism

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Furthermore, a seen in Black feminist theoretical work, sarting with Simms-Brown (1982) and continuing with Beauboeuf-LaFontant (2009), ad Woods-Giscombé (2010), te black female has been recklessly, ad maybe unfairly, ctapulted into a permanently perceivable role as “The Strong Black Woman (SBW)” or “Superwoman” (Woods-Giscombé, 2010, p The “SBW” is a culturally persistent and quite acceptable stereotype that black women are strong beyond what the normal human being can bear (Woods-Giscombé, 2010). Beauboeuf-LaFontant (2009) and Woods-Giscombé (2010) have argued persuasively that this stereotype can place considerable stress on black t the degree that their health and well-being is compromised.

As stated by Woods-Giscombé (2010), “erhaps there is a price to the Superwoman role” (p. The same may be said for John Henryism. Te mother-son relationship itself may be a contributing factor. Arican American males who reside only with their mothers tend to experience more mental health and behavioral problems than do African American females who reside only with their mothers (Mandara & Murray, 2006; Mndara, Vrner, &Richman, 2010). A small but consistent body of research (e. ,Gant & 2009; Mndara et al.

,2006, 2010; MLoyd, 1990; Rndolph, 1995; Setana, 2000; Wod et al. ,2007) has supported the argument that “African American mothers love their sons but raise their daughters” (Randolph, 1995, p African American mothers have been shown to be more overprotective of their sons than daughters and tend to make more “life” decisions for their sons than daughters (Gantt & Greif, 2009; Mndara et al. ,2006, 2010; MLoyd, 1990). The relationships that mothers, epecially single mothers, hve with their sons versus their daughters may contribute the severity of maternal grief in reaction to a son’s suicide.

Te impact of a son’s suicide on the mothers of African American males is tremendous and pervasive, athough the level of research attending to this population is limited (Woods-Giscombé, 2010). Suicide is problematic for African American mothers and can be helped by counseling (Allen et al. ,2006; Brlow, 2008; Brnes, 2006; Gbson, Gllagher & Jenkins, 2010; Hlmes, Antz & Smucker. 2007; Je & Niedermeier, 2008 ). This study is focused on the grief experiences exclusively of African American who have experienced the suicide of a male child.

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