Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


First Advisor

Yan Xia, Ph.D.

Date of this Version

Fall 12-2017


Clark, G. C. (2017). Spirituality among Black Americans: A hierarchical classification of the family strengths model (master’s thesis). University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Under the Supervision of Professor Yan Xia. Lincoln, Nebraska: December 2017

Copyright © 2017 Genese C. Clark


There is a need for disaggregate data pertaining to the perceived strengths of Black American families. This study identified which traits are salient and dominant among African-American families according to the Family Strengths Model. Utilizing this model, a mixed methods study was conducted among Black Americans living in Connecticut who identify with belonging to a family (N=59) to investigate the importance of six family strength domains. Results found the hierarchical rank (from most important to least important) to be commitment, spirituality/ spiritual wellbeing, appreciation and affection, positive communication, time together, and the ability to manage stress and crisis effectively. Additionally, all family strength domains were of high importance to the participants. Emerging family strength traits included leadership qualities and qualities that lead to newness and awe. Results are consistent with previous family strength and resiliency literature; however, this study offers a new and focused family strength perspective from Black Americans.

Advisor: Yan Xia