Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Slavery and the intergenerational transmission of trauma in inner city African American male youth: A model program—from the cotton fields to the the concrete jungle
by Mullan-Gonzalez, Jennifer, Psy.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2012, 308; 3539806
Abstract (Summary)

An externally critiqued model treatment program was synthesized from theoretical and research literature to better address trauma associated with the intergenerational trauma of slavery—not as an institution or an experience, but as a collective memory grounded in the identity formation of a people, particularly Black Africans in the United States. Current U.S. programs either do not acknowledge slavery or the intergenerational transmission of trauma as goals for treatment; rather individuals are treated with treatment for Post-Traumatic Slave Disorder (PTSD) or complex trauma. Such treatments are insufficient at treating the transmission of the trauma of chattel slavery in urban African American male because those youth may have already experienced complex trauma, including racial oppression and inner city violence. This study examined the intergenerational trauma through a synthesis of literature on the effect of chattel slavery on the culture, identity, and souls of African American male youth from the inner city.

Results indicate that, along with learned dysfunctional patterns, the trauma of slavery can indeed be transmitted intergenerationally through indirect and direct methods that can impact daily functioning. Many programs for African American male adolescents are focused on external behaviors and designed to address the behavioral elements associated with PTSD; greater success may be achieved by treating the underlying causes. A sizeable body of literature supports the notion that slavery as intergenerational trauma is evidenced in the psychological development of African American adolescent males residing in the inner city. Terms include Posttraumatic Slave Syndrome (Leary, 2005) or PTSlaveryD (Reid, Mims, & Higginbottom, 2005). Untreated intergenerational trauma from chattel slavery has resulted in nonbeneficial symptoms in the enslaved Africans' offspring that need to be honored and healed for Black male youth. This is crucial information for psychologists, clinicians, educators, and the criminal justice system working with African American male adolescents residing in the inner city regarding how externalizing behaviors are treated, conceptualized, interpreted, prevented, and addressed. The new externally critiqued 12-week group intervention model program, From the Cotton Fields to the Concrete Jungle (CFCJ) was proposed to identify and reassess treatment goals, add symptoms (e.g., vacant esteem, ever present anger, racist socialization), and provide a culturally sensitive model of healing for African American adolescents who reside in urban areas.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wilkinson, Tanya
Commitee: Morgan, Robert
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 74/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: African American Studies, Counseling Psychology, Clinical psychology
Keywords: African american males, Complex trauma, Indigenous perspectives, Intergenerational trauma, Model program, Slavery trauma
Publication Number: 3539806
ISBN: 978-1-267-64278-3
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