Everyday conflict and stress among older African American women: Findings from a focus group study and pilot training program

Weitzman, P.F., Dunigan, R., Hawkins, R.L., Weitzman, E. A., & Levkoff, S.E.
Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 10(2): 27-44.

Older African American women are at high risk for morbidity due to anger suppression and stress. Yet sources of everyday stress and conflict in the lives of older African American women have not been documented. Such information is essential for developing health promotion programs. A focus group study was conducted with older African American women on everyday stress and conflict. Everyday stress stemmed from worries about functional disability and about accessing transportation. Everyday conflicts occurred with adult children, teen-aged grandchildren, and older neighbors or peers. Conflicts with adult children centered on how the adult child was raising his/her children. Conflicts with grandchildren centered on social respect. Conflicts with neighbors/peers centered on perceived rudeness or past transgressions. Participant strategies for dealing with stress and conflict tended to be avoidant. A training program in constructive conflict strategies for older African American women is presented that draws on information gained in the focus groups.

Wagner Faculty