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Am J Public Health. 1993 Feb;83(2):240-4.

Symptoms of depression among blacks and whites.

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  • 1School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.



We sought to examine relationships between sociodemographic indicators of risk and depression symptoms within the Black and White populations.


In a national probability sample, differences in sex, age, marital status, religion, social class, employment status, urbanicity, and region were evaluated against a Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale score of 16 or greater. Risk factors were identified within the two populations and compared between them.


For both races, females were at greater risk for depression than males, and respondents who were formerly married or separated were at greater risk than those who were currently married. Major differences in patterns of risk were also found between the races. Blacks who were 30 to 39 years of age, belonged to non-Western religious groups, and lived in the West were at greater risk than comparable Whites. Blacks who were widowed, members of the middle and lower-middle class, and unemployed were at less risk.


Similarities and differences in patterns of risk were evident. The nature of the differences suggests important divergence in sociocultural and economic experience.

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