Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Jeff Wallis

Second Supervisor

Janice Kelly


The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to identify self-care knowledge, perceptions, and behaviors of Strong Black Women (SBW) executives with graduate degrees. Stress has substantial damaging impact on health, and it may cause some of the disproportionately high rates of adverse health conditions that Black women experience. Neglect or postponement of self-care has been identified as a contributing factor to SBW’s health disparities. This study sought to identify the factors that limit self-care and those that may lead to engagement, enhanced self-care, and improved health for Black women. The study population consisted of Strong Black Women, between the ages of 40 and 60, with at least a master’s degree, and who were employed full-time in an executive or professional position at the time of the study. Using data from personal interviews with 10 Black women who self-identified with the superwoman schema, five themes emerged. The themes were: spirituality, physical being, intentionality, expectations of self and others, and support. The overlapping answers to the research questions concluded that for the participants of this study, self-care is individualized. Findings include that Strong Black Women’s definitions and understanding of self-care are multifaceted. The participants did not equate self-care, by their definitions, with contributing to their health but rather as contributing to their overall well-being. Recommendations for SBW regarding self-care include engaging in self-care, as personally defined which can support wellness, relaxation, and happiness, resulting in reduced stress. SBW also need to pay attention to engaging in health-related care practices.

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