Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Danelle Stevens-Watkins


Individual risk behaviors are not enough to explain STI disparities among African American women. Effects of structural, social, and individual level risk factors may be mitigated by cultural factors that help increase resilience. The current study aimed to examine whether John Henryism Active Coping (JHAC), a cultural correlate marked by physical and mental vigor and self-determination, mitigates relationships between criminal justice status, crack cocaine use, and sex partner risk characteristics. Data were derived from a sample of African American women living in Kentucky (n=643). Ordinal logistic regression and stepwise linear regression analyses were utilized to examine whether interactions between criminal justice status and JHAC predicted (1) crack cocaine use and (2) partner risk characteristics. Moderated mediation analyses examined whether crack use explained the relationship between criminal justice status and partner risk characteristics, and whether JHAC moderated these pathways. Results showed that while main effects of criminal justice status and JHAC were associated with both crack use and partner characteristics, the interaction between criminal justice status and JHAC was only statistically significant for partner risk (B=0.087, p=.019). However, none of these relationships were statistically significant at follow-up. Moderated mediation analyses showed that while crack use did not mediate the relationship between criminal justice status and partner risk characteristics, crack use did significantly predict partner risk over time (B=0.418, p=.022). Results indicate important targets for culturally tailored interventions to improve drug treatment and STI disparities. These novel applications of the John Henryism hypothesis can inform future efforts to enhance cultural resilience among African American women.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

This work was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01-DA011967, PI: Oser; T32-DA035200, PI: Rush). 2020-2022

Available for download on Friday, August 04, 2023