The Path to Better Health for Black Women: Predicting Self-Care and Exploring Its Mediating Effects on Stress and Health

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

INQUIRY: The Journal of Health Care Organization, Provision, and Financing

Publication Date


Date Added



Stress leads to poor self-rated health for many black women because of racial and economic discrimination which results in psychological distress and restricted access to resources. Resilience factors such as self-care may be able to buffer the impact of stress; however, the role of self-care in reducing the effect of stress on self-rated health has not been explored. Self-care involves the utilization of self-awareness and agency to seek remedy for imbalance and to sustain equilibrium. Despite anecdotal exploration of these factors, there has not been a systematic investigation of whether self-awareness and agency indeed predict self-care. Subsequently, this study sought to provide evidence that self-awareness and resilience predict self-care, and self-care can mediate the negative relationship between stress and self-rated health. A cross-section of 223 black women living in the United States completed a battery of assessments of self-care, mindfulness, perceived stress, resilience, and self-rated health. Through a series of regression analyses exploring mediating effects, a path emerged. Findings indicate that awareness and resilience do predict self-care, and self-care mediates the negative relationship between stress and health. These analyses suggest that the role of stress on black women’s health can be reduced by the implementation of awareness and resilience.