First Presenter's Institution

U Matter Consulting and Counseling

Second Presenter's Institution

NA

Third Presenter's Institution

NA

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Westbrook

Strand #1

Mental & Physical Health

Strand #2

Social & Emotional Skills

Relevance

Buckley and Carter (2005) noted in their research that the identities, racial and ethnic, of African Americans “have been demonstrated to be associated, generally, in the protective direction, with numerous psychological and behavioral characteristics including self-esteem, stress, and delinquent behaviors” (p. 649). By examining the identity development of African American girls and the factors that are influential in their development, one is able to begin to identify ways to increase their well-being, and promote strategies that would lead to healthy development.

Brief Program Description

The identity and overall well-being of African American girls tends to be influenced, both positively and negatively, by the following factors: mass media, gender roles, and environmental factors. Black Girlhood examines the identity development of African American girls utilizing the relational developmental systems theory framework. Black Girlhood also explores the role that mass media, gender roles, and environmental factors shape how African American girls view themselves, while providing interventions that can allow the reshaping of their identity and improvement in their overall well-being.

Summary

Adolescence is considered a time when African American girls begin to define themselves in relation to social status and their racial/ethnic group. Ethnic identity has been found to play a very influential role in how African American girls view themselves. Spencer (1995) stated, “the self is constructed in response to stereotypes and biases” (p. 819) as according to Erikson (1968) individuals tend to assume negative stereotypes as they are presented to them. African American girls find themselves being influenced tremendously by mainstream media, as negative imagery of African American women is seen more often than not of positive imagery. As a result of African American girls find themselves, at times, more at risk of aversive effects of mainstream media, negatively influences their concept of self, to include: identity and esteem. Through the examination identity development of African American girls, utilizing the Relational Developmental Systems Theory Framework and Helms’ Black Racial Identity Model, which has been linked to the reduction of behaviors considered to be risky and promotion of healthy development; as well as exploring the various selves of African American Girls, as identified by Mary Pipher (1994), to include: social, academic, physical, emotional, spiritual, thinking; participants will be able to identify meaningful interventions that will allow African American girls the ability to preserve their true selves, improve their overall well-being, and implications such will have on their continued development and life.

Evidence

Dr. Mary Pipher (1994) in her book, "Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls" noted that "America today is a girl-destroying place". For African American girls, the continued perpetuation of negative images via mass media, as well as gender roles, tend to negatively impact their identity development and overall well-being in a negative way. Research has shown that girls, during their adolescence, “receive powerful messages from adults and from the culture that undermines their self-confidence, suppress their self-identity, and compel them to conform to limiting gender roles” (Buckley and Carter, 2005, p. 648). African American girls tend to be trained to be less than who they truly are and more of what culture wants of them. Given the conflict between experiences among African American girls, between selves, they begin to create identities that are counterproductive to their overall well-being. Alice Miller (1981) was able to show through her work with several children, how they lost their true selves during childhood, only to create a false self in which they sought validation from outside persons. If such validation was not gained, children would experience devastation and the experience was considered to be a traumatic one. However, Helms (1990) proposed with the Black Racial Identity model, African American are able to “move from having self-degrading racial identity attitudes to self-enhancing racial identity attitudes in which they are secure about their own racial group and appreciate others from diverse backgrounds” (Buckley and Carter, 2005, 649).

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Karla L. Sapp is a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC), Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CCMHC), Master Addiction Counselor (MAC), Certified Professional Counselor Supervisor and Licensed Professional Counselor in Georgia. She earned her Doctorate of Education in Counseling Psychology from Argosy University, as well as, she is a graduate of Armstrong Atlantic State University (BS Criminal Justice) and South University-Savannah. Dr. Sapp has been practicing for 7 years, specializing in mental health and addictions counseling, within the following settings: inpatient acute hospitalization, outpatient, drug court, and is currently a Drug Treatment Specialist with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, where she works with incarcerated male offenders. She has also worked with the military population, while providing services within the inpatient setting, as well as juvenile offenders as a Juvenile Probation/Parole Specialist II with the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice for 5 years. Dr. Sapp is an Adjunct Faculty member at South University in the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. Dr. Sapp, a scholarly practitioner, also has a research/counseling interest in Expressive Writing, Criminal Offenders, Men Therapy, Sports Counseling, Lifestyle Choices and Wellness, Identity Development, and Disaster Mental Health/Crisis Counseling.

Keyword Descriptors

Lifestyle Choices, Wellness, African American Girls, Identity Development, Well-Being, Gender Roles, Ethnic and Racial Identity, Development

Presentation Year

2017

Start Date

3-7-2017 8:30 AM

End Date

3-7-2017 9:45 AM

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Mar 7th, 8:30 AM Mar 7th, 9:45 AM

Black Girlhood: Reshaping the Identity and Improving the Well-Being of African American Girls

Westbrook

The identity and overall well-being of African American girls tends to be influenced, both positively and negatively, by the following factors: mass media, gender roles, and environmental factors. Black Girlhood examines the identity development of African American girls utilizing the relational developmental systems theory framework. Black Girlhood also explores the role that mass media, gender roles, and environmental factors shape how African American girls view themselves, while providing interventions that can allow the reshaping of their identity and improvement in their overall well-being.