Stressful Life Circumstances, Resources for Support, and African American Children’s Psychological Symptoms

Allison J. Woerpel, Willie Winston, Sonya S. Brady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This brief report examines African American children’s and caregivers’ exposure to stressors and perceived support in relation to children’s internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Forty-six children aged 8 to 12 years and their primary caregivers were recruited from an urban school in the Midwestern United States and interviewed separately. Adjusting for child’s age and gender, caregiver’s gender, and number of caregivers in the family, child-reported stressful life events were associated with child-reported internalizing and externalizing symptoms. When children reported greater support from caregivers, children reported fewer externalizing symptoms and caregivers reported fewer oppositional behaviors and ADHD symptoms on the part of their child. Caregivers’ health- and relationship-related stressors were associated with child-reported externalizing symptoms, as well as caregiver-reported ADHD symptoms. Family-based mental health services within schools and communities may improve caregiver and child support systems, reduce caregiver-child conflict, and promote resilience to stress among urban, low-income African American families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-344
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Black Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, © The Author(s) 2016.


  • African American
  • externalizing symptoms
  • family
  • internalizing symptoms
  • stress


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