Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education (PhD)

Degree Level



Graduate School


David Christian

Committee Member

Erin Popejoy

Second Committee Member

Kristin Higgins

Third Committee Member

Lorien Jordan


Black Feminism;Black Greek Life Organizations;Intersectionality;Mental Health;Strong Black Woman


The narrative surrounding the meaning of being a Black woman has historically been dominated by stereotypes such as the mammy, jezebel, sapphire, and angry Black woman. Black women have attempted to control their own narrative through the internalization of these stereotypes, leading to the creation of the Strong Black Woman (SBW) construct. While the SBW is comprised of a sense of caretaker, independence, and emotional restraint, Black women’s attempts at embodying this construct in the face of societal oppression and familial responsibilities can and often does have negative effects on their mental health. Although the behaviors associated with the SBW have the potential to be empowering, they also have the potential of marginalizing, isolating, and allowing the Black woman to be overworked and misused. This dissertation is a study intended to provide insight into how Black women who are members of Black Greek letter sororities perceive the self-identified status of "SBW," and to see if they perceive it as having an impact on their help seeking behavior. To date, there are no studies that specifically narrate the mental health of Black women in sororities and their identity as a SBW. Too often, the story of the Black woman is controlled by others, which allows stereotypes and misconceptions to become the norm. This study will empower Black women to control their own narratives and tell their stories the way they see fit.