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J Natl Med Assoc. 2012 Nov-Dec;104(11-12):493-504.

Psychosocial and sociocultural correlates of depressive symptoms among diverse African American women.

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  • 1Morehouse School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, 720 Westview Dr SW, Ste 219-B, Atlanta, GA 30310, USA.


African American women are faced with many challenges regarding their historical, cultural, and social structural position in the United States that may heighten their vulnerability for depression, one of the most prevalent disorders that can engender poor functionality. The purpose of this cross-sectional pilot study was to foster greater understanding about the occurrence and correlates of depressive symptoms among a diverse convenience sample of 63 African American women recruited from a comprehensive primary health care clinic (n = 23), a small private academic institution (n = 25), and an urban community setting (n = 15). Self-report data concerning selected psychological, sociocultural, and biological factors were collected. Descriptive statistics, Pearson product moment correlation, and analysis of variance were used to analyze data. Results indicated several similarities and differences among the 3 groups of women concerning levels of depressive symptoms and their correlates. Among the total sample, symptoms of depression were mild among 65% of the women. Depressive symptoms were significant and positively associated with negative and ruminative thinking (r = 0.79, p < .01), low self-esteem (r = 0.58, p < .01), stressful life events (r = 0.43, p < .05), low social support (r = 0.46, p <.01), depression stigma (r = 0.36, p < 01), and indication of chronic diseases (r = 0.34, p < .01). Depressive symptoms were significant and negatively associated with resiliency (r = -0.48, p < .01) and spiritual well-being (r = -.47, p < .01). This research adds to the empirical data concerning contributors to depressive symptoms for African American women.

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