Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation (Access Restricted)

Degree Name

Doctor of Education



Committee Chair

Karen Weddle-West

Committee Member

Ronnie Priest

Committee Member

Lisbeth Berbary

Committee Member

Nancy Nishimura


This critical race narrative inquiry critiques how identity and cultural ideologies contribute to the decision to seek professional help for psychological problems among African Americans. The study intertwines the use of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and the sociology of mental health. Primary tenets of CRT commonly associated with African American culture include: the acknowledgement of White-privilege, the ideology that racism is normal and race is a social construction, and knowledge that narratives advocate for change. I employed CRT to give insight into current racial dilemmas, and to expose racial injustices that impact the perception of some African American individuals. The sociology of mental health was utilized to show how inequalities influence psychological health and illness. The dialogue between CRT and the sociology of mental health offer an explanation of how race-related inequalities influence ideologies about mental illness and mental health treatment. By examining mental health through the lens of CRT, I illuminated how African Americans construct meaning about psychological problems and professional mental health treatment. Participants included 6 African American individuals who reside in Memphis, Tennessee. Each participant was interviewed and provided life-stories focused on identity, and his or her perception of psychological problems and mental health treatment. The methodology of narrative inquiry was utilized to gather stories from each participant. Participants lived experiences were narrated and translated into texts. To represent data from multiple voices, I shaped stories, one participant after another, to create an ongoing coherent narration with a beginning, middle, and end. Participant's words were used to say what he or she said, and my voice is that of the teller. Each narration was data as evidence that provides readers with relevant information and shows how findings may be transferable.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.