For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Black women talk about workplace stress and how they cope"

by Hall, J Camille; Everett, Joyce E; Hamilton-Mason, Johnnie (2012)


Black women face the same struggles as White women; however, they have to face issues of diversity on top of inequality. The purpose of this study was to explore work-related stressors that affect the lives of Black women and how they cope with them. Using an exploratory design with grounded-theory methods, five basic themes emerged that identify when racism and sexism are experienced as stressors for African American women in the workplace. The themes are: (1) being hired or promoted in the workplace, (2) defending one’s race and lack of mentorship, (3) shifting or code switching to overcome barriers to employment, (4) coping with racism and discrimination, and (5) being isolated and/or excluded. The results from this study indicate African American women use emotion- and problem-focused coping responses to manage stress (e.g., racism and sexism) in the workplace. The article concludes with a discussion of practice implications of these findings.


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