Mediators of a Culturally-Sensitive Intervention for Suicidal African American Women

  • Huaiyu Zhang
  • Kiranmayi Neelarambam
  • Tomina J. Schwenke
  • Miesha N. Rhodes
  • Delishia M. Pittman
  • Nadine J. KaslowEmail author


This study explored intervention outcomes and mechanisms that could help explain why low-income, African American women with a history of intimate partner abuse and suicide attempt improve in response to a culturally-informed intervention, the Grady Nia Project. Specifically, the investigation examined whether or not the intervention had effects on the women and whether or not spiritual well-being and coping mediated the effects of the intervention on suicidal ideation and depressive symptoms. In this randomized controlled clinical trial, data from 89 women who completed both pre- and post-intervention assessments were analyzed. During the post-intervention follow-up, women in the active intervention group reported lower levels of suicidal ideation and depressive symptoms and higher levels of existential well-being and adaptive coping skills than those women randomized to the treatment as usual group. However, only existential well-being was found to mediate treatment effects on suicidal ideation and depressive symptoms. Religious well-being, as well as adaptive and maladaptive coping, did not serve a mediational function. These findings highlight the importance of designing and implementing culturally-sensitive and evidence-based strategies that enhance existential well-being in this population.


African American women Suicidal ideation Depressive symptoms Spiritual well-being Coping skills Mediation 



This research was supported by grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (R49 CCR421767-01, Group interventions with suicidal African American women) and the National Institute of Mental Health (1R01MH078002-01A2, Group interviews for abused, suicidal Black women) awarded to the last author (Kaslow).

Conflict of interest

Huaiyu Zhang, Tomina J. Schwenke, Miesha N. Rhodes, and Nadine J. Kaslow, Emory University; Kiranmayi Neelarambam, Georgia State University; Delishia M. Pittman, Lewis & Clark College. None of the authors have any conflicts of interest to report.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Huaiyu Zhang
    • 1
  • Kiranmayi Neelarambam
    • 2
  • Tomina J. Schwenke
    • 1
  • Miesha N. Rhodes
    • 1
  • Delishia M. Pittman
    • 3
  • Nadine J. Kaslow
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesEmory University School of Medicine, Grady HospitalAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Georgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Lewis & Clark CollegePortlandUSA

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