Examination of hair experiences among girls with Black/African American identities

Taryn Henning, Mel Holman, Layla Ismael, Kimberly Y. Yu, Lesley Williams, Stacie J. Shelton, Marisol Perez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Negative hair experiences can impact psychological well-being and are an integral part of development through childhood, adolescence, and beyond. The current study utilized a mixed-methods approach to capture the lived experiences of girls relating to their hair. Participants were 105 girls between the ages of 10–15 years old recruited via social media, email, and social organizations with Black/African American, or biracial communities. Satisfaction with natural hair, perceived bullying and teasing relating to hair, social comparisons, and pressure from family and friends were assessed. Approximately, 22% of 10-year olds, 14% of 11-year olds, 54% of 12-year olds, 35% of 13-year olds, and 32% of 14-year olds reported experiencing hair related teasing. Engaging in hair comparison with models/celebrities in the media and peers was significantly associated with less hair satisfaction. Similarly, girls that reported greater frequency of hair-related teasing also had significantly lower scores on hair satisfaction. Finally, having friends who like one's natural hair was significantly associated with higher hair satisfaction scores. Black/African American girls and their experiences around hair have been largely neglected in psychology and body image research, and more research on this topic is required to gain a better understanding of the role it plays in developing young girls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-83
Number of pages9
JournalBody Image
Volume42
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Keywords

  • African American
  • Black
  • Girls
  • Hair discrimination
  • Hair satisfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychology(all)

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