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Dev Psychol. 2007 Nov;43(6):1295-1311. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.43.6.1295.

Race-ethnic inequality and psychological distress: depressive symptoms from adolescence to young adulthood.

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Department of Sociology and Gerontology, Miami University.
Center for Research on Child Well-Being, Princeton University.
Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina.


Social inequality is well established in the mental health of race-ethnic groups, but little is known about this disparity from adolescence to young adulthood. This study examined differences in trajectories of depressive symptoms across 4 race-ethnic groups (Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians) using 3 waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Latent trajectory analyses showed race-ethnic variations among both females and males. Stressors were significantly related to depressive symptoms for all study members, but they accounted for symptom trajectories only among Black males and minority females. Persistent differences in trajectories for Blacks and Whites showed parallel slopes that did not converge over time. Neither background characteristics nor social resources (i.e., social support) altered this gap. However, social support represents a potential equalizer of these race-ethnic differences, owing to the ubiquitous nature of its protective effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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