Have any questions? 848-445-2190 | News | Contact Us


CAS WinR Fellow Co-Creates Black Well-Being Model

Dr. Crystal L. Brandow had the opportunity to serve as a fellow in the Center of Alcohol and Substance Use Studies WinR Program from July 2021 – June 2022, with support from faculty co-mentors Drs. Peggy Swarbrick and Denise Hien. While in the Fellow Program, Dr. Brandow worked with the Community Advisory Board  https://alcoholstudies.rutgers.edu/wellness-in-recovery/peer-support-providers/ and key informants to co-produce a draft well-being model for young Black adults.

The impetus for this work was the alarming rates of community trauma being experienced by Black communities across the country historically and, pertinent to this study, in 2020, specifically. Three epidemics, COVID-19, opioid use, and racism – the COR syndemic – are disproportionately impacting Black communities. Yet, a review of the literature showed there were no well-being models to promote well-being that were developed for and by young Black adults. Dr. Brandow and the research team filled this gap in science and practice and co-created the Well-Being Model for Young Black Adults.

This mixed methods community-based participatory research partnered with key informants (n=7) to develop a preliminary model. The model was modified based on end-user feedback and assessment, gathered systematically through Delphi rounds with study participants (n=11), who were young Black adults ages 18-39. All of the nine well-being domains in the model were deemed feasible, appropriate, and accessible with 70% or more agreement among participants. The nine well-being domains are: community + connection, creativity, culture, health, money, purpose, self-empowerment, sexuality, and spirituality. As of December 2022, the preliminary visual depiction of the model, created by Jade Warrick based on the study results, is available for access, reference, and use. There is a brief graphic available, as well as a detailed infographic.

Participants in the pilot indicated:

  • I wish I had something like this to really help me see which areas I feel like I’m lacking when I know I’m feeling off but can’t really pinpoint what the problem is.
  • Prioritizing our experiences is needed and overdue. I appreciate all of the things being considered and acknowledged…
  • The model addresses the some of the most important areas that I find important in my life. I believe it would be applied very easily to my day to day.

While the model is designed to guide individual well-being reflection, it acknowledges the impact of historical, structural, systemic, interpersonal, and internalized racism on well-being. The model co-creators understand that the personal well-being of people who are oppressed and marginalized by current systems may be influenced by these systems. Still, we all have strengths that can be leveraged to support overall health, wellness, and well-being.

Suggested Model Citation: Brandow, C., Asadi, H., Myrick, K., Brice, G., Pitts, S., Canuteson, M., Wilson, I., Swarbrick, M., & Warrick, J. (2022, December). The well-being model for young Black adults. Piscataway, New Jersey: Center of Alcohol & Substance Use Studies, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, Rutgers University.

Reference: Hien, D. N., Bauer, A. G., Franklin, L., Lalwani, T., & Pean, K. (2022). Conceptualizing the COVID-19, opioid use, and racism syndemic and its associations with traumatic stress. Psychiatric Services, 73(3), 353-356. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.202100070.

Dr. Brandow, CAS, and many others are excited to explore additional funding opportunities to expand this model and operationalize the components to create a suite of well-being tools for young Black adults. If you’re interested in discussing the future of this project, please visit www.meetclb.com to contact Dr. Brandow.