Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Ecology

Document Type




Americans do not reside in what many consider now a Post-Racial society. A remarkable number of researchers found that African Americans are more likely than any other racial group to experience racism, manifested by racist attitudes and practices, which negatively affect their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing (health). Very importantly, numerous scholarly works have examined racism and Black women qualitatively. Unfortunately, less has been known about the personal processes and meaning-making mechanisms of Black married couples and African American males in terms of how they cope with racism, and ecological stress. To address this gap, this study uses qualitative responses from 23 multi-denominational Christian heterosexual married couples (made up of those who are Catholics, Protestants, LDS and Non-Denominational individuals) (N = 46 individuals) from across the United States. Grounded Theory methodology was used to reveal the following themes: (1) Religion and Stress, (2) Racism and Stress, (3) Perceived Factors of Stress, and (4) Coping Strategies. As part of the findings, the study reveals that African American families, or Black minority families, experienced more institutional racism from White Americans than any other group. It was also observed that African Americans are generally faced with institutional racism in most bi-racial environments, and these encounters have negative effects on their social well-being. Additionally, the study revealed that African Americans adopted several strategies to deal with the stress that emanated from White racism which included, Self-Directed Coping Strategies, Collaborative Coping Strategies, and Deferred Coping Strategies.



Committee Chair

Chaney, Cassandra D