The Impact of Race/Ethnicity and Residence on Depression Prevalence

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Less Depression Reported by Black Women
Less Depression Reported by Black Women

(HealthDay News) — Black women are much less likely to report suffering from depression than white women, a new study suggests. The findings were published online April 8 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Researchers culled responses from 1,462 black women and 341 white women who took part in a national survey, and found that only 10.1 percent of black women reported depression at some point in their lives, compared with 21.3 percent of white women. White women were also much more likely than black women to say they'd had major depression within the past 12 months (8.8 versus 5.5 percent), and to have had a mood disorder at some point in their life (21.8 versus 13.6 percent).

Where women lived also played a part in depression rates, the investigators found. Among black women, 4.2 percent of those in rural areas and 10.4 percent of those in cities said they had suffered major depression in their lifetime, while 1.5 percent of those in rural areas and 5.3 percent of those in cities said they'd had major depression within the past 12 months. Black women in rural areas were also less likely than those in cities to report having a mood disorder in their lifetime (6.7 versus 13.9 percent), or in the past 12 months (3.3 versus 7.6 percent). The reverse was true among white women: Those in rural areas were more likely than those in cities to report having major depression or mood disorder within the past 12 months (10.3 versus almost 4 percent).

"These findings offer an important first step toward understanding the cumulative effect of rural residence and race/ethnicity on major depressive disorder among African-American women and non-Hispanic white women and suggest the need for further research in this area," the authors write.

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