Exploring self-care practices of African American informal kinship caregivers

Tyreasa Washington, Quenette L. Walton, Hannah Kaye, Jun Sung Hong, Benjamin Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


African American caregivers providing informal kinship care are vulnerable to chronic stress. Research has indicated stress increases individuals' risk for many adverse physical and mental health outcomes, including cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease and depression. Given the adverse outcomes related to stress, identifying mechanisms to help these caregivers lower and manage their stress is critical to their overall health and well-being. This pilot qualitative study aimed to explore the self-care practices of 12 African Americans providing informal kinship care using a phenomenological approach. Three themes emerged: (a) behaviours to manage stress levels, (b) support network reminding caregivers to take care of themselves and (c) prioritizing my own needs. Specifically, our findings indicate that some caregivers have high-stress levels and engage in maladaptive coping behaviours. The children they cared for reminded them to take care of themselves by attending doctors' appointments or getting their nails done. Nevertheless, some caregivers prioritized their needs by participating in positive self-care behaviours, such as listening to jazz and gospel music and exercising. Prevention and intervention programs that focus on improving caregivers' health should consider the role of self-care practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-23
Number of pages12
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • black
  • child welfare
  • grandparents raising grandchildren
  • health
  • mental health
  • stress


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