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Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2007 Aug;15(8):652-9. Epub 2007 May 15.

Lifetime and 12-month prevalence of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition disorders among older African Americans: findings from the National Survey of American Life.

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  • 1School of Social Work, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.



The purpose of this study was to estimate lifetime and 12-month prevalence of 13 psychiatric disorders for older African Americans.


Data are from the older African American subsample of the National Survey of American Life. Selected measures of lifetime and 12-month Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) psychiatric disorders were examined (i.e., panic disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive disorder, dysthymia, bipolar I and II disorders, alcohol abuse/dependence, and drug abuse/dependence).


Twenty-three percent of older African Americans reported at least one lifetime disorder and 8.54% reported at least one 12-month disorder. Alcohol abuse, PTSD, and major depression were the most prevalent lifetime disorders. The most prevalent 12-month disorders were PTSD, major depression, and social phobia. Age, sex, education, and region were significantly associated with the odds of having a lifetime disorder.


This is the first study of prevalence rates of serious mental disorders for older African Americans based on a national sample. Demographic correlates of the prevalence of disorders are discussed with an emphasis on age and regional differences.

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