The Whole Picture: Examining Black Women Through the Life Span
This chapter examines the experiences and coping mechanisms Black women employ throughout their lives. Using Spencer’s PVEST (1995), an ecological theoretical framework, the challenges and triumphs that Black women face during pregnancy and infancy as well as the normative developmental tasks faced in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood are addressed. Black girls’ school relationships with teachers and peers are appraised. The authors particularly raise the issue of Black girls as bullies and the bullied as a much-needed line of research. Pressures that arise as a result of colorism and pubertal changes are examined for their impact on adolescence. Black women’s work and intimate experiences are also explored for their relationship with stereotyped conclusions of Black women’s anger and aggression. The changing role of grandmothers as primary caregivers is examined for its affect on the coping of Black women in middle and late adulthood. Finally, the role of religious participation as social and emotional support for elderly Black women is reviewed.