Sources of Stress and Relief for African American Women

By Catherine Fisher Collins | Go to book overview

Preface

Each day African American women attempt to meet the challenges of their family, work, and community. All too often, in meeting these challenges, we engage in some form of behavior or action that may, in turn, generate some form of stress. Sometimes when we are feeling the effects of stress, we call it [getting on our last nerve] or [getting on our last reserved nerve.] Whatever you choose to call it, stress can be harmful to your wellbeing and stress can do serious physical and psychological harm. In fact, as bell hooks states in her book Sisters of the Yam (1993, p. 53), [stress is a hidden killer underlying all major health problems black women face.]

How long we live depends in part on how well we manage our stress— and we are losing the daily battles with stress, as evidenced by African American women's poor health status and their [1998 death rate of 589.4 per 100,000 as compared to White women's of 372.5 per 100,000] (Misra 2001, p. 65). The physiological and psychological reactions to stress impact our lives in many ways. This is not your typical book about stress; instead, it confronts from an Afrocentric perspective some of the real-life issues that are stressors for African American women. As presented in part I, some of the real-life stressors we encounter emanate from family, community, work, colleagues, and friends.

In part II, you will find ways to deal with these stressors. As we meet the new challenges of the twenty-first century, we bring with us all our experiences—some good and some bad. At the same time, African American women must build on the good experiences and moderate the effects of the bad experiences so that their physical and mental health status will improve.

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