Title

A Comparative Exploration of Depressive Symptomatology among Black and White Collegiate Women

Conference Strand

Research and Theory

Abstract

Minimal research on depression exists that considers the intersection of race and gender during emerging adulthood, a period of life known to have unique stressors and intensive social identity development. This comparative study found that Black females reported greater amounts of depressive symptomatology (M = 24.61) compared to White females (M = 15.68), (F (1,377) = 61.434, p < .001).

Description

Depression is closely linked to the level of stress that an individual perceives and experiences in their daily life. Continuous, often referred to as chronic, stress can cause a variety of physical and mental health problems, including depression. Higher rates of depression have been found amongst women, emerging adults, and racial minorities. Thus, when studying depression, we also must consider the specific stressors that may trigger or worsen depression for various demographic groups. The purpose of this study is to explore racial differences and other contributing factors in the prevalence of clinical depression for emerging adult women that are enrolled in a college or university. Little is known about the racial disparities in mental health specifically for this age group, but the unique stressors associated with this developmental stage of life necessitate their own body of research. Three hundred and sixty-nine self-identified emerging adult Black and White women (Mage = 19.67, SD = 11.751). completed an online survey during a 3-year time period. All participants were currently attending a four-year college or university. The racial breakdown of the sample was 61% self-identified White females (n = 234) and 39% self-identified Black females (n = 149). Black collegiate women reported significantly higher levels of perceived stress and symptoms of depression in comparison to White collegiate women. Chi-Squared analyses revealed that where 1 in 5 White females in the current sample met criteria for Major Depressive Disorder, an alarming 1 in 2 Black females met criteria for MDD. Given that race is a social construction with no biological merit, this finding calls attention to the contextual sociological factors that are contributing to the development of the depression instead of the just individual biological causes.

Evidence

Apollon, D. (2011). Don't call them post-racial: Millenials' attitudes on race, racism and key systems in our society. Applied Research Center, 1-40.

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. Washington, D.C: American Psychiatric Association.

Angst, J., Dobler-Mikola, A., & Binder, J. (1984). The Zurich study—A prospective epidemiological study of depressive, neurotic and psychosomatic syndromes. European Archives of Psychiatry and Neurological Sciences, 234, 13-20.

Arnett, J.J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55, 469-480. doi: 10.1037//0003-066X.55.5.469

Arnold, H.J., & Feldman, D.C. (1981). Social desirability response bias in self-report choice situations. The Academy of Management Journal, 24, 377-385.

Brommelhoff, J.A., Conway, K., Merikangas, K., & Levy, B.R. (2004). Higher rates of depression in women: Role of gender bias within the family. Journal of Women's Health, 13, 69-76.

Clark, R., Anderson, N.B., Clark, V.R., & Williams, D.R. (1999). Racism as a stressor

for African-Americans. A biopsychosocial model. The American Psychologist, 54, 805–816. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.54.10.805.

Cohen, S., Kamarck, T., & Mermelstein, R. (1983). A global measure of perceived stress. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 24, 385-396.

Djuric, Z., Bird, C.E., Furumoto-Dawson, A., Rauscher, G.H., Ruffin, M.T., Stowe, R.P., Tucker, K.L., & Masi, C.M. (2008). Biomarkers of psychological stress in health disparities research. The Open Biomarkers Journal, 1, 7–19. doi: 10.2174/1875318300801010007

Donovan, R.A., & West, L.M. (2014). Stress and mental health: Moderating role of the strong black woman stereotype. Journal of Black Psychology, 41, 384-396. doi: 10.1177/0095798414543014

Eisenberg, D., Gollust, S.E., Golberstein, E., & Hefner, J.L. (2007). Prevalence and correlates of depression, anxiety, and suicidality among university students. The American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 77, 534-542. doi: 10.1037/0002-9432.77.4.534

Ernst, C., Foldenyi, M., & Angst, J. (1993). The Zurich Study: XXI. Sexual dysfunctions and disturbances in young adults: Data of a longitudinal epidemiological study. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 243, 179–188.

Gavin, A.R., Melville, J.L., Rue, T., Guo, Y., Dina, K.T., & Katon, W.J. (2011). Racial differences in the prevalence of antenatal depression. General Hospital Psychiatry, 33, 87-93. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2010.11.012

Gonzalez, O., Berry, J.T., McKnight-Eily, L.R., Strine, T., Edwards, V.J., Lu, H., & Croft, J.B. (2010). Current depression among adults: United States, 2006 and 2008. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 59, 1229-1235.

Hamilton-Mason, J., Hall, J.C., & Everett, J.E. (2009). And some of us are braver:

Stress and coping among African American women. Journal of Human Behavior

in the Social Environment, 19, 463-482. doi: 10.1080/10911350902832142

Hammen, C. (2005). Stress and depression. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 1, 293-319. doi: 10.1146/annurev.clinpsy.1.102803.143938

Hankin, B.L., & Abramson, L.Y. (1999). Development of gender differences in depression: Description and possible explanations. Annals of Medicine, 31, 372-379.

Harrington, R. (2013). Stress, health, and well-being: Thriving in the 21st century. University of Houston, Victoria. Cengage Learning.

Horwitz, A.V., & White, H.R. (1991). Becoming married, depression, and alcohol problems among young adults. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 32, 221-237.

Hutchings, V.L. (2009). Change or more of the same? Evaluating racial attitudes in the Obama era. Public Opinion Quarterly, 73, 917-942. doi: 10.1093/poq/nfp080

Hypertension Detection and Follow-up Program Cooperative Group. (1977). Race, education, and prevalence of hypertension. American Journal of Epidemiology, 106, 351-361.

Jackson, J.S., Torres, M., Caldwell, C.H., Neighbors, H.W., Nesse, R.M., Taylor, R.J., Trierweiler, S.J., & Williams, D.R. (2004). The National Survey of American Life: a study of racial, ethnic and cultural influences on mental disorders and mental health. The International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 13, 196-207.

James, S.A. (1994). John Henryism and the health of African Americans. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, 18, 163-182. doi: 10.1007/BF01379448

Kasl, S.V., and Cobb, S. (1970) Blood pressure changes in men undergoing job loss: A preliminary report. Psychosomatic Medicine, 32, 19-38.

Kendler, K.S., Thornton, L.M., & Prescott, C.A. (2001). Gender differences in the rates of exposure to stressful life events and sensitivity to their depressogenic affect. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 158, 587–593. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.158.4.587

Kessler, R.C. (2003). Epidemiology of women and depression. Journal of Affective Disorders, 74, 5-13. doi: 10.1016/S0165-0327(02)00426-3

Kessler, R.C., Foster, C.L., Saunders, W.B., & Stang, P.E. (1998). Social consequences of psychiatric disorders, III: Probability of marital stability. Archives of General Psychiatry, 155, 1092-1096.

Kessler, R.C., & Walters, E.E. (1998). Epidemiology of DSM-III-R major depression and minor depression among adolescents and young adults in the National Comorbidity Survey. Depression and Anxiety, 7, 3-14.

Klerman, G.L. (1988). The current age of youthful melancholia: Evidence for increase in depression amongst adolescents and young adults. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 152, 4-14. doi: 10.1192/bjp.152.1.4

Klonoff, E.A., Landrine, H., & Ullman, J.B. (1999). Racial discrimination and psychiatric symptoms among Blacks. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 5, 329-339. doi: 10.1037/1099-9809.5.4.329

Kuwabara, S.A., Van Vorhees, B.W., Gollan, J.K., & Alexander, G.C. (2007). A qualitative exploration of depression in emerging adulthood: Disorder, development, and social context. General Hospital Psychiatry, 29, 317-324. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2007.04.001

Lazarus, R.S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York: Springer.

Lepore, S.J., Miles, H.J., & Levy, J.S. (1997). Relation of chronic and episodic stressors to psychological distress, reactivity, and health problems. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 4, 39-59.

Link, B.G., & Phelan, J. (1995). Social conditions as fundamental causes of disease. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 80-94.

Long, B.T. (2007). The contributions of economics to the study of college access and success. Teachers College Record, 109, 1-44.

Mowbray, C.T., Megivern, D., Mandiberg, J.M., Strauss, S., Stein, C.H., Collins, K., Kopels, S., Curlin, C., & Lett, R. (2006). Campus mental health services: Recommendations for change. The American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 76, 226-237.

Mukhopadhyay, C., & Henze, R.C. (2003). How real is race? Using anthropology to make sense of human diversity. Phi Delta Kappan, 84, 669-678.

National Institute of Mental Health. (2014). Major depression among adults. Retrieved from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/major-depression-among-adults.shtml

Neighbors, H.W., Caldwell, C., Williams, D.R., Nessee, R., Taylor, R.J., Bullard, K.M., Torres, M., & Jackson, J.S. (2007) Race, ethnicity, and the use of services for mental disorders: Results from the National Survey of American Life. Archives of General Psychiatry, 64, 485-494. doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.64.4.485

Nicolai, K.A., Laney, T., & Mezulis, A.H. (2013). Different stressors, different strategies, different outcomes: How domain-specific stress responses differentially predict depressive symptoms among adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42, 1183-1193. doi: 10.1007/s10964-012-9866-4

Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2001). Gender differences in depression. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10, 173-176. doi: 10.1111/1467-8721.001427

Obrist, P.A., Gaebelein, C.J., Teller E.S., Langer, A.W., Grignoto, A., Light, K.C., & McCubbin, J.A. (1978). The relationship among heart rates, carotoid dp/dt, and blood pressure in humans as a function of the type of stress. Psychophysiology, 15, 102-115.

Parry, B.L., & Newton, R.P. (2001). Chronobiological basis of female-specific mood disorders. Neuropsychopharmacology, 25, 102-108. doi: 10.1016/S0893-133X(01)00340-2

Political Participation Group. (2009). "Post-racial" America? Not yet: Why the fight for voting rights continues after the election of President Barack Obama. NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. Retrieved from: http://www.naacpldf.org/files/publications/Post-Racial-America-Not-Yet.pdf

Radloff, L.S. (1977). The CES-D Scale: A self-report depression scale for research in the general population. Applied Psychological Measurement, 1, 385-401. doi: 10.1177/014662167700100306

Reinherz, H.Z., Giaconia, R.M., Hauf, A.M., Wasserman, M.S., & Silverman, A.B. (1999). Major depression in the transition to adulthood: Risks and impairments. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 108, 500-510.

Silverstein, B., & Lynch, A.D. (1998). Gender differences in depression: The role played by paternal attitudes of male superiority and maternal modeling of gender-related limitations. Sex Roles, 38, 539-555.

Sue, D.W., Capodilupo, C.M., Torino, G.C., Bucceri, J.M., Holder, A.M.B, Nadal, K.L., & Esquilin, M. (2007). Racial microaggressions in everyday life. Implications for clinical practice. American Psychologist, 62, 271-286. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.62.4.271

Taylor, J., & Turner, R.J. (2002). Perceived discrimination, social stress, and depression in the transition to adulthood: racial contrasts. Social Psychology Quarterly, 65, 213-225.

Torres, E.R. (2014). Psychometric properties of the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale in African-American and Black Caribbean adults. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 33, 687-696. doi: 10.3109/01612840.2012.697534

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015). College enrollment and work activity of 2015 high school graduates. United States Department of Labor. Retrieved from: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/hsgec.pdf

Weissman, M.M., & Klerman, G.L. (1977). Sex differences and the epidemiology of depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 34, 98-111.

Williams, M.T., Chapman, L.K., Wong, J., & Turkheimer, E. (2012). The role of ethnic identity in symptoms of anxiety and depression in African Americans. Psychiatry Research, 199, 31-36. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2012.03.049

Williams, D.R., & Collins, C. (1995). US socioeconomic and racial differences in health: Patterns and explanations. Annual Review of Sociology, 21, 349-386. doi: 10.1146/annurev.so.21.080195.002025

Williams, D.R., Yu, Y., Jackson, J.S., & Anderson, N.B. (1997). Racial differences in physical and mental health. Journal of Health Psychology, 2, 335-351.

Woods-Giscombé, C.L. (2010). Superwoman Schema: African American Women’s Views on Stress, Strength, and Health. Qualitative Health Research, 20, 668-683. doi: 10.1177/1049732310361892

Yang, Y., Liu, L., Wang, Y., Wu, H., Yang, X., Wang, J., & Wang, L. (2013). The prevalence of depression and anxiety among Chinese adults with cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Cancer, 13, 393. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-13-393.

Zich, J.M., Attkisson, C.C., & Greenfield, T.K. (1990). Screening for depression in primary care clinics: The CES-D and the BDI. International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, 20, 259-277. doi: 10.2190/lykr-7vhp-yjem-mkm2

Tables and Graphs

Table 1. Self-reported sample Sociodemographics for Undergraduate Women (N=383)

Black (n=149)

White (n=234)

n

%

n

%

Class Year

First year/Freshman

18

12.1

100

42.7

Second year/Sophomore

22

14.8

52

22.2

Third year/Junior

48

32.3

48

20.5

Fourth year/Senior

55

36.9

33

14.1

Fifth year or beyond

6

4

1

.4

Employment

Work full time

11

7.4

*

*

Work part time

11

7.4

2

.9

Work part-time and full time student

69

46.3

75

32.1

Unemployed and student

58

38.9

157

67.1

Meets criteria for MDD

No

71

47.7

180

78.3

Yes

78

52.3

50

21.7

Meets criteria for Dysthymia

No

64

43

164

71.3

Yes

85

57

66

28.7

*Indicates Missing Data

Table 2.

Correlates and Means of Sociodemographic and Psychosocial Variables for Undergraduate Women (N = 383)

1.

2.

3.

1. Depressive Symptomatology

2. Perceived Stress

.778**

3. Age

.184**

.125*

*p < .05, **p < .01

BlackM

24.61

18.71

20.43

BlackSD

12.327

6.574

1.575

BlackSkew

.249

-.029

.587

WhiteM

15.68

15.53

19.18

WhiteSD

9.755

6.378

1.169

WhiteSkew

.755

.496

.544

Format

Individual Presentations

Biographical Sketch

Buffie Longmire-Avital, Ph.D – is an Associate Professor of Psychology and the coordinator of the African, African-American Studies program at Elon University. Dr. Longmire-Avital received her Bachelors of Science degree from Lafayette College and her Doctoral degree in Applied Developmental Psychology from New York University’s Steinhardt School for the Study of Culture, Education and Human Development. She received a NIDA-funded post-doctoral fellowship to train at both the National Development Research Institutes and the Center for HIV/AIDS Education, Studies and Training affiliated with Hunter College. Dr. Longmire-Avital’s numerous scholarly articles reflect her primary research focus, which is on the psychosocial development and health behaviors of emerging adult Black American females. Specifically, she examines sexual health communication strategies and the relationships between chronic race-related stress, depression, and eating habits.

Location

Room 212

Start Date

2-17-2017 10:45 AM

End Date

2-17-2017 12:00 PM

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Feb 17th, 10:45 AM Feb 17th, 12:00 PM

A Comparative Exploration of Depressive Symptomatology among Black and White Collegiate Women

Room 212

Minimal research on depression exists that considers the intersection of race and gender during emerging adulthood, a period of life known to have unique stressors and intensive social identity development. This comparative study found that Black females reported greater amounts of depressive symptomatology (M = 24.61) compared to White females (M = 15.68), (F (1,377) = 61.434, p < .001).