Social Work

Date of Paper/Work

Spring 5-2020

Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

Type of Paper/Work

Banded Dissertation


Catherine Marrs Fuchsel


This dissertation composes three products that use intersectionality theory to examine the connections between the Strong Black Woman (SBW) schema and perinatal mental health disparities among Black and African American women. Implications for integrating a culturally responsive practice approach is presented.

The first scholarly work is a conceptual paper that explores intersectionality theory and the strong Black woman schema; specifically, Black and African American women’s experiences with perinatal depression and maternal mortality. A correlation between untreated perinatal depression and adverse birth outcomes is presented within the context of maternal healthcare.

The second manuscript is a systematic review that examines culturally responsive mental health practice to treat Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) among Black and African American women. Empirical data is presented on perceptions of mental health treatment and engagement among perinatal Black and African American women.

The third scholarship product is an overview of a peer-reviewed presentation titled The Myth of the Strong Black Woman: Mental Health Disparities and Adverse Birth Outcomes in Pregnant African American Women at the European Association of Schools of Social Work (EASSW) conference in Madrid, Spain. The overview includes implications for addressing cultural disparities in adverse birth outcomes by treating PMADs in Black and African American women through a culturally responsive assessment and treatment framework. A culturally responsive practice framework is presented as a model for practitioners and educators to apply to the current standards of social work practice. In addition, future research appears to be indicated in the area of Perinatal Mental Health assessment and treatment among Black and African American women.


intersectionality, strong Black woman schema, perinatal mood and anxiety, Black women and depression, perinatal depression, clinical social work, culturally responsive practice

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License

Included in

Social Work Commons