Strength in Adversity: Blacks Bear Burden Better Than Whites

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Family studies in the area of severe mental illness have focused primarily on the problems of White parents caring for a psychiatrically disabled child. In response to such neglect of the unique experiences of Black families, this study compared the coping mastery ability and self-esteem scores of 24 Black and 185 White parents of severely mentally ill offspring to determine the different effects of caregiving on these 2 groups of parents. T-test analyses revealed that Black parents had higher feelings of self-worth and lower levels of depression. Parents' social support resources, achievement expectations, ill offspring characteristics and context, and issues relevant to conducting research with ethnic minority subjects are explored in regard to study findings.

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