Mental illness, family caregivers, Black women, child mental health


Black women face significant social and economic adversities throughout their life course as intersecting identities impact their experiences of double jeopardy (gender and racial discrimination) and result in various forms of inequity. Though researchers have examined the health inequalities experienced by Black women, Black women as caregivers of their children who have been diagnosed with mental illnesses have yet to be examined in research. Gaps in knowledge exist regarding how a child's diagnosis of a mental illness impacts the parenting practices of Black women and the family dynamics. Further, the barriers to health access experienced by Black women as they navigate mental health systems and the resiliency factors and coping mechanisms employed by Black women have yet to be examined. Utilizing a grounded theory method of qualitative inquiry, this study addresses the gaps in the literature, is a response to a direct call to research, and examines the lived experiences of Black women as caregivers for children diagnosed with mental illnesses.  Findings indicated that the mothers find and navigate resources and interventions independently; they utilize formal sources as a last resort and often find those supports ineffective, and they are in a constant state of learning and teaching others about the mental health needs of their children. Though the mothers sought support, they live in a state of isolation, meeting the mental health needs of their children and the needs of others in their families, with limited support from both formal and informal sources.

Completion Date




Committee Chair

Chapple, Reshawna


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Community Innovation and Education


Public Affairs

Degree Program

Social Work






In copyright

Release Date

May 2027

Length of Campus-only Access

3 years

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)

Campus Location

UCF Downtown

Accessibility Status

Meets minimum standards for ETDs/HUTs

Restricted to the UCF community until May 2027; it will then be open access.