Results of a mindfulness intervention feasibility study among elder African American women: A qualitative analysis

Jeffrey Proulx, Raina Croff, Michelle Hebert, Barry Oken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objectives:. Older African Americans have a significantly higher risk than older white Americans for cognitive decline and other health problems. Much of this may be due to the unique stressors, both historically and in-the-moment, that African Americans face in contrast to whites, such as gentrification and health disparities. Gender further exacerbates this effect. This study aims to understand stressors unique to older African American women, as well as coping strengths that have emerged organically over time for use in tailoring stress-reduction mindfulness classes in this community Design and setting:. A four-week mindfulness training class adapted from mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) was implemented in a historically black, gentrifying neighborhood in Portland, Oregon with 10 older African American women aged 50–89. Main outcome measures:. Focus groups discussed stressors, coping, responses to mindfulness classes, and preferences to better reflect older African American cultural values and norms. Results:. Stressors reflected participants’ intersectionality as older black women, including neighborhood and workplace race-based microagressions, and gentrification-related cultural and generational incongruences. Coping strategies included self-care, remembering core-self amidst stress, and drawing strength from family and faith. Participants found mindfulness classes appropriate for addressing stress and felt that classes provided a forum for connecting on issues of race and community. Conclusion:. Tailoring classes to older African American women should consider integrating biblical teachings, African American instructors who understand socio-historical contexts of older black women's stressors and strengths, and time for group-reflection to support community building.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102455
JournalComplementary Therapies in Medicine
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • African American
  • Complementary Health
  • Mindfulness
  • Qualitative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and Manual Therapy
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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