Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Debra Lyon


Abstract Little is known about how African American men with schizophrenia experience their every day existence. Through applying interpretive phenomenology and using a methodological structure designed by van Manen (1990, 1997), this research aimed to enrich the understanding of living with schizophrenia for these African American males. In this study, five men ranging in age from 21 to 57 described their lives within the context of existing with the diagnosis of schizophrenia. The lived experiences across the interviews revealed four overarching themes: They know that they are mentally ill; they make a special effort to test reality; they assert their autonomy and; they experience reality differently, which they see as a gift. To provide appropriate treatment support to African American male diagnosed with schizophrenia, it is important to recognize the client’s ability to assert his autonomy and appreciate his view of himself as unique and special. Moreover, in terms of symptom management, it is pivotal to understand that although the client may not be free of hallucinations and delusions, he nevertheless may be at his optimum state of wellness. The realization that these men have been transformed by their diagnosis of schizophrenia rather than being crushed by their condition is evident in their stories.


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VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission


B HM13492 03-16-2011.pdf (325 kB)
Appendix A

B HM13492 07-28-2011.pdf (189 kB)
Appendix B

Included in

Nursing Commons