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Relationship between violence and depression in urban African American women

Briggett C Ford, ACSW, MPH, PhD, School of Social Work, University of Michigan, 1080 S. University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106, (734)-763-6282, bcford@umich.edu

Both the epidemiological and trauma literature provide evidence for a link between the exposure to trauma and the development of major depression. Numerous studies have found high rates of comorbidity between depression and PTSD. Research has shown that pre-existing depression increases and individualís susceptibility to the effects of traumatic events leading to PTSD (Bromet, et al 1998). Studies also suggest that the presence of depression increases the risk for exposure to traumatic events. These studies have not specifically focused on severely ill low income African American women. Such women are at increased risk for experiencing both trauma and depression. Therefore, developing a better understanding of how trauma affects mental health functioning is important. This study examines the differences between those women who have a diagnosis of depression and exposure to trauma and those women with depression and no trauma exposure in a sample of 55 African American women. Analyses revealed that those without depression reported significantly lower levels of mental health functioning while those with depression reported non-significant lower levels. These results suggest that while important, depression may not be the most important problem for women and that routine trauma screening may be required in mental health settings to ensure appropriate treatment. Participants will be able to: 1) describe findings on rates of depression and trauma, 2) identify links between depression, trauma and mental health functioning and 3) discuss the ways that links between environment, depression and trauma can be used to develop more culturally relevant mental health services.

Learning Objectives: Session participants will be able to

Keywords: Depression, Women

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Panel: Environmental Contributions to Mental Disorder for African Americans

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA