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J Affect Disord. 2019 Dec 1;259:143-149. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2019.08.037. Epub 2019 Aug 19.

Perceived stress and mental health: The mediating roles of social support and resilience among black women exposed to sexual violence.

Author information

1
Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, United States.
2
Department of Community-Public Health, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD 21205-2110, United States.
3
Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, United States. Electronic address: ktsuyuki@ucsd.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Black women disproportionately suffer from violence and its subsequent mental health outcomes. Increasing levels of perceived stress are associated with greater symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Social support and resilience can potentially mediate the negative consequences of perceived stress on women's mental health. This study assesses the association between perceived stress and mental health outcomes among Black women. In addition, this study examines social support and resilience as mediators of association between perceived stress and mental health.

METHODS:

Black women residing in Baltimore, MD (n = 310) were recruited from STD clinics into a retrospective cohort study (2013-2018) on sexual assault and HIV risk. Social support and resilience served as coping variables and were assessed as mediators in the associations between perceived stress and mental health. Analyses were stratified by exposure to sexual violence in adulthood.

RESULTS:

Almost half of our sample (46%) experienced severe depression and about one-third (27%) experienced severe PTSD. Resilience partially mediated the association between perceived stress and severe depressive symptoms among exposed women. Social support partially mediated the association between perceived stress and severe PTSD symptoms among exposed women.

LIMITATIONS:

Since this is a cross-sectional analysis, we are unable to determine the temporal relationship between outcome and exposure variables. The CES-D-10 and NSESSS are scales that measure the severity of depressive and PTSD symptoms, respectively, and are not clinical diagnoses.

CONCLUSION:

There is a critical need to develop interventions focused on reducing the burden of stress on mental health.

KEYWORDS:

Depression; PTSD; Perceived stress; Resilience; Social support; Violence

PMID:
31445340
PMCID:
PMC6791774
[Available on 2020-12-01]
DOI:
10.1016/j.jad.2019.08.037

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