"Can't is not in our vocabulary. l stay prayed up."
Maternal experiences of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) have the potential to create deleterious intergenerational effects within families and communities. Similarly, a small but growing body of literature suggests an association between maternal experiences of racial trauma (discrimination) and emotional and behavioral health outcomes in children. Maternal experiences of CSA and lifetime exposure to racial trauma may impact the quality of the mother- child relationship. However, the co-contribution of these experiences to maternal and child mental health, as well as culture-specific risk and protective factors in intergenerational transmission, have not been examined. The aims of this study were two-fold. The first aim of this study was to examine the association between maternal CSA, maternal racial trauma, and risk factors for intergenerational transmission of vulnerability, including child behavior problems and maternal depressive symptoms. Secondly, this study is the first known study to examine culture-specific, modifiable risk (Strong Black Woman Ideology endorsement) and protective factors (spiritual coping) for maternal depressive symptoms for Black mothers in contexts of discrimination and CSA. Regression analyses revealed maternal use of spiritual coping as a protective factor associated with lower levels maternal mental health challenges among Black mothers; the impact of maternal use of spiritual coping was greater than the impact of both maternal history of childhood sexual abuse and lifetime discrimination exposure. Endorsement of Strong Black Woman Ideology was identified as a risk factor for maternal depressive symptoms. These results provide evidence of the impact of Black mothers’ intersectional identities and lived experiences on maternal mental health outcomes. Recommendations and suggestions for future research and clinical practice to better support the needs of Black mothers and subsequently promote the health and well-being of young Black children are discussed.