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Am J Community Psychol. 1997 Feb;25(1):95-110.

Ethnocultural differences in prevalence of adolescent depression.

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Department of Behavioral Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Texas, Houston 77225, USA.


Data from an ethnically diverse sample of middle school (Grades 6-8) students (n = 5,423) are analyzed for ethnic differences in major depression. The point prevalence of major depression was 8.4% without and 4.3% with impairment. Data were sufficient to calculate prevalences for nine ethnic groups. Prevalences adjusted for impairment ranged from 1.9% for youths of Chinese descent to 6.6% for those of Mexican decent. African and Mexican American youths had significantly higher crude rates of depression without impairment, but only the latter had significantly higher rates of depression with impairment. Multivariate (logistic regression) analyses, adjusting for the effects of age, gender, and socioeconomic status (SES), yielded significant odds ratios for only one group. Mexican American youths were at elevated risk for both depression without (OR = 1.74, p < .05) and depression with impairment (OR = 1.71, p < .05). There was no significant interaction of ethnicity and SES in relation to depression. Females had higher prevalences of depression with and without impairment, as did youths who reported that their SES was somewhat or much worse off than their peers. The data add to growing evidence that Mexican American youths are at increased risk of depression, and that community intervention efforts should specifically target this high-risk group.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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