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Group work innovations in reducing depressive symptoms among black women

Lani V. Jones, PhD, LICSW, School of social Welfare, University at Albany-SUNY, Richardson Hall, 135 Western Ave., Albany, NY 12222, (518) 442-5324, ljones@albany.edu

Recent estimates indicate that almost 20% of the U.S. population, primarily women, will experience a clinically significant episode of depression at some point in their lives (Gotlib & Hammen, 2002). Black women are considered to be at higher risk than their White counterparts for experiencing environmental, biological, and psychosocial risk factors that contribute to depression. Frequently their mental health treatment experiences are infused with undeniable and unyielding acts of discrimination contributing to feelings of oppression and powerlessness. It has been posited that group work has the potential for serving as an effective intervention for decreasing depressive symptomotology and increasing psychosocial competence with this population (Francis-Spence, 1994; Jones, 2004). Utilizing an experimental design with pre/post measures and a control group, this study examined the effectiveness of a culturally specific, psycho-educational group intervention model aimed at enhancing psychosocial competence among 40 Black women who were at high risk for developing depressive disorders. Differences between groups were analyzed for the main effects of condition, time and the interaction using random effects regression models for each dependent variable. The findings of this study offer some preliminary data supporting the effectiveness of a culturally-specific group intervention with Black women and demonstrate that psychosocial changes can be generated over a 10-week time period. Session participants will be able to: 1) describe strategies on how to develop interventions from a culturally specific framework and 2) discuss the implications for reducing depression and enhancing psychosocial competence.

Learning Objectives: Session participants will be able to

Keywords: Depression, African American

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