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Ethn Dis. 2008 Autumn;18(4):464-70.

Factors associated with self-reported depression in Arab, Chaldean, and African Americans.

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Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences, Division of Occupation and Environmental Health, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI 48201, USA.



Although depression is a chronic illness with high morbidity and personal and economic losses, little is known about depression in immigrants with an Arab or Chaldean ethnic background.


Our primary objective was to determine the overall and ethnicity-specific prevalence of self-reported depression in Arab Americans, Chaldean Americans, and African Americans in the Midwest. The secondary objective was to evaluate the associations between potential risk and protective factors and the presence of self-reported depression.


A total of 3543 adults were recruited from the Arab and Chaldean communities in Metropolitan Detroit. The sample in this study was restricted to those of Arab, Chaldean, and African ethnic backgrounds, resulting in 81.2% of the original sample (n=2878). A health assessment survey questionnaire was administered.


The overall rate of self-reported depression was 18.2%. The highest rate of depression was found in Arab American participants (23.2%), followed by African Americans (15%) and Chaldeans (13.3%). Self-reported prevalence of depression by country of origin differed significantly.


Our results show the need to provide culturally competent mental health services for Arab Americans and other minority American subgroups. Research is needed to identify risk factors, preferably modifiable factors, and to ascertain which factors are similar and non-similar to the general American population.

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