Date of Award

August 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Nadya Fouad

Committee Members

Jacqueline Nguyen, Marie Sandy, Marty Sapp


capoeira, cultural healing, cultural identity, cultural interventions, cultural therapy, cultural well-being


By the year 2050, racial and ethnic minorities are projected to become the rising majority accounting for more than 50% of the population in the United States, however minorities are consistently at greater risk for poorer health outcomes and at higher risk for trauma-related symptoms than their White counterparts. Although some individuals seek and access traditional mental health services, more than half of the individuals who have diagnosable conditions never obtain formal treatment. Within the past two decades, the American Psychological Association delineated Multicultural Guidelines that describe the need for interventions to not only adapt to culture, but to be congruent. Through the lens of Vélez-Agosto and colleagues Microcultural framework (2017), the Afro-Brazilian martial art of capoeira is explored to better understand the meaningful cultural traditions therein, therapeutic and or healing aspects of the culturally-centered art, and salient aspects of identity for capoeristas, or capoeira practitioners. Narrative qualitative inquiry was utilized to interview capoeirstas from eight different groups, consisting of fifteen capoeira group leaders and twelve capoeira group members, for a total of 27 participants.