The role of perceived thought control ability in the psychological well-being of African American mothers

Aisha Collins, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to investigate the role that perceived thought control ability (PTCA) plays in strengthening and protecting the psychological well-being of African American mothers. Impaired maternal psychological well-being is related to worse maternal health and has significant intergenerational consequences. Previously identified psychological resources (e.g., optimism, personal control, self-esteem, and social support) have been primarily studied in European American women, and face considerable limitations to their applicability to African American women. Studies have found that PTCA, a coping resource that has been minimally researched, has robust relationships with psychological well-being. Practices expected to cultivate PTCA, prayer, meditation, and mindfulness, fit within the religious and spiritual framework central to African American culture. This study sought to examine the extent to which PTCA promotes psychological well-being and moderates the negative effect of key stressors, including perceived discrimination, financial strain, and parenting stress, in African American mothers. The study also sought to explore the feasibility of PTCA as a viable target of intervention with this population. A cross-sectional, correlational design was used and administered online. Participants completed measures of PTCA, well-being, perceived stress, and measures of culturally relevant coping practices. Findings show that PTCA predicted the well-being of African American mothers. PTCA had a stronger relationship with decreased distress than increased positive well-being, and PTCA had a stronger relationship with increased vitality and engagement in one’s life, than increased happiness. In terms of stress-coping, PTCA protected against the negative impact of discrimination and parenting stress on psychological distress. In terms of coping strategies, thanksgiving and confession prayer, meditation, and mindfulness were predictive of PTCA, providing evidence that PTCA is modifiable by culturally relevant and logistically feasible practices for African American mothers. This study provides evidence that PTCA is a culturally relevant, malleable, and practical psychological resource for increasing psychological well-being in African American mothers.

Subject Area

African American Studies|Womens studies|Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Collins, Aisha, "The role of perceived thought control ability in the psychological well-being of African American mothers" (2016). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10182724.