Faculty Publications

Title

Self in community: African american women’s views of self-esteem

Document Type

Article

Keywords

African American Women, Dialectic Tensions, Gender, Interpersonal And Intrapersonal Communication, Self-esteem, Self-reliance, Social Support

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Howard Journal of Communications

Volume

11

Issue

2

First Page

73

Last Page

92

Abstract

African American women face multiple challenges to their self-esteem, including racism and sexism. Very little research on self-esteem has taken into account African American women's conceptualizations of self-esteem. This article explores the concept of self-esteem from the perspective of some adult African American women, specifically their views of the components of high self-esteem, and how they manage the construction and maintenance of high self-esteem in their lives. From qualitative interviews with 21 women and follow-up focus groups with 12 of the women, two predominant and interconnected self-esteem needs were found: social support and self-reliance. Social support came from families, friends, churches, and communities; the women learned from these sources to be self-reliant and empowered. Other related themes included pride, respect, positive outlook, and the use of self-talk. The community basis for the self-concept and self-esteem of the women in the study is explored. The women in the study did not view social support and self-reliance as competing needs or tensions. Implications of such a view for communication and psychological research is discussed. © 2000 Taylor & Francis.

Original Publication Date

1-1-2000

DOI of published version

10.1080/106461700246634

Share

COinS