Review Article|Articles in Press

A scoping review of the concept of resilience among African American women


      • Resilience, thriving in the face of adversity, is a critical component of well-being in African American women.
      • Traditional definitions and approaches to operationalize resilience may not capture race- and gender-related resilience experiences of African American women.
      • Culturally relevant components of resilience including spirituality/religion, strength, survival, active coping, and social support.
      • It is important to operationalize resilience as a multidimensional construct so it can be optimally included in research designed to investigate the quality of life, cardiovascular risk, and other health outcomes in African American women.


      Resilience, thriving in the face of adversity, is a critical component of well-being in African American women. However, traditional definitions and approaches to operationalize resilience may not capture race- and gender-related resilience experiences of African American women. A more complete conceptualization of resilience may help facilitate future investigation of the mechanisms through which resilience influences health in this group. Our team conducted a scoping review of the literature published during twenty years, between 2000 and 2019, on resilience and health in African American women. We included a multidisciplinary set of databases (PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Scopus, Social Work Abstracts, Sociological Abstracts, Academic Search Premier). Using Covidence software a multi-step review process was conducted; 904 abstracts were initially screened for eligibility, 219 full-text studies were screened in stage two, and 22 remaining studies were reviewed for extraction. The studies reviewed revealed limitations of unidimensional approaches to conceptualizing/operationalizing resilience in African American women. The review highlighted culturally-relevant components of resilience including spirituality/religion, strength, survival, active coping, and social support. Findings highlight the importance of operationalizing resilience as a multidimensional construct so it can be optimally included in research designed to investigate the quality of life, cardiovascular risk, and other health outcomes in African American women.


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