Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



School of Nursing


Adult Health

Committee Chair

Mary Jane Smith

Committee Co-Chair

Joy Buck

Committee Member

Bernadine Lacey

Committee Member

Gina Maiocco

Committee Member

Elizabeth Shelton


Excess facial hair is a characteristic of hirsutism. Excess facial hair can alter a woman's presentation of self in living day-to-day. Research is sparse in the realm of studying women who do not suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome, who have excess facial hair. Women of varying racial backgrounds are also underrepresented in the current literature. The purpose of this study was to explore the structure of meaning of living with excess facial hair for African-American women. The stories of eight women were gathered and analyzed using van Manen's phenomenological approach and middle range story theory. As a result of this inquiry five themes that make up the structure of meaning were explicated. The structure of meaning of living with excess facial hair for African-American women is: (a) encountering a repugnant revelation detected by self and others; (b) exercising the obligation to tweeze, wax, thread, shave, or conceal in an attempt to control the uncontrollable; (c) discerning a self-imposed response to others' words and actions; (d) bringing to the forefront disapproving thoughts and feelings of being masculine, unattractive, and embarrassed; and (e) making up one's mind to accept that which cannot be changed. The findings of this study are discussed in relation to three of the dimensions of the health related quality of life conceptual model as well as components of story theory. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are also offered.