Carrie’s TOUCH funded by the California Breast Cancer Research Program in partnership with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to present the community-academic research project, Project SOAR (Speaking Our African American Realities). If you are an African American woman living with a diagnosis of breast cancer, learn more about this study and how you can be a part of it.  Contact SOAR@carriestouch.org or k.martin@ucla.edu.

African American Women (AAW) diagnosed with breast cancer are challenged with poor health outcomes; they also can experience a low quality of life in specific areas, which can persist two years or more following diagnosis. There are little research and few theoretical models to inform effective approaches to wellbeing in AAW diagnosed with breast cancer. In two pilot studies, this research will examine contributors to quality of life in AAW diagnosed with breast cancer. Specifically, community partners have hypothesized that the Strong Black Woman schema may influence the ways in which women cope, and specifically coping through avoiding or approaching the breast cancer experience, as well as important outcomes such as depression, fatigue, cognitive problems, and perceptions of growth from the cancer experience.

The Strong Black Woman Schema posits that AAW are driven by history and society to present an image of strength, suppress emotions, resist support from others, achieve success with inadequate resources, and prioritize caregiving over self-care. These facets of the schema are seen as having negative consequences for AAW’s health and well-being, but more positive facets, such as ethnic pride and commitment to complete treatment, also deserve attention. Further studies are warranted to determine the impact of positive and negative facets of the Strong Black Woman schema on health outcomes for breast cancer survivors.

Two pilot studies will address these questions:

1) Is the Strong Black Woman schema relevant for AAW breast cancer survivors and if so, how?

2) Are the schema’s facets related to approach- and avoidance-oriented coping processes and primary (depressive symptoms) and secondary (fatigue, cognitive problems, cancer-related perceived growth) outcomes?

 

 

Read more about the value of clinical trials, the UC Davis research project and Rev. Tammie Denyse’s personal experience here.