Mental health professionals’ views of afro-american family life and sexuality

Gloria J. Powell, Neuropsychiatric Institute
Gail E. Wyatt
Barbara A. Bass, School of Medicine


The Survey of Afro-American Behavior (S.A.A.B.) is a scale devised for specific use with mental health professionals to assess the affective and cognitive components of attitudes toward positive (favorable), negative (unfavorable), factual and stereotypic statements regarding Afro-American behavior in seven areas, two of which are examined in this paper: 1) family life patterns and marital relationships, and 2) sexual values and behavior. Significant differences on the factual and stereotypic items emerged among six groups of therapists divided by age and sex. There were statistically significant differences on family life and marital relationship items between the means of Afro-Americans over 45 years of age, who agreed more with positive statements, and Anglo-Americans under 3 5 years of age; and on sexual issues each of the three groups of Afro-Americans agreed more with the factual statements than three groups of Anglo-American cohorts. Sexual values and belief statements were the most controversial area of knowledge both within and between the two ethnic groups. The implications of this study are discussed in terms of prevention and early intervention programs for Afro-American communities with particular emphasis on the necessary training of mental health professionals to work effectively with Afro-Americans. © 1983 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.