High Risk of Depression in High-Income African American Boys.

Research paper by Shervin S Assari, Cleopatra H CH Caldwell

Indexed on: 27 Aug '17Published on: 27 Aug '17Published in: Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities


Despite the well-established literature on the protective effect of socioeconomic status (SES) on physical and mental health, there are a few reports on poor mental health of blacks with high SES. Using a national sample, this study investigated the association between household income and risk of major depressive disorder (MDD) in black youth based on ethnicity, gender, and their intersection.One thousand one hundred seventeen black adolescents (810 African Americans and 360 Caribbean blacks) were included in the current study. Household income was the main predictor. MDD (lifetime, 12-month, and 30-day) was the main outcome. Age was the covariate. Ethnicity and gender were the focal moderators. Logistic regressions were used for data analysis.In the pooled sample, household income was not associated with risk of MDD (lifetime, 12-month, or 30-day). We found significant interactions between income and gender on lifetime and 12-month MDD, suggesting a stronger protective effect of income on MDD for females than males. We also found significant interaction between income and ethnicity on 30-day MDD, suggesting stronger protective effect of income against MDD for Caribbean blacks than African Americans. In African American males, high household income was associated with higher risk of lifetime, 12-month, and 30-day MDD. For Caribbean black males and females, high household income was associated with lower odds of 30-day MDD.Findings suggest that ethnicity and gender influence how socioeconomic resources such as income are associated with MDD risk among black youth. Higher household income may be associated with higher risk of MDD for African American males.