203060 Racial Differences in Social Support and Depression among Adult Mothers

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Jamie Chatman, PhD , Center for Minority Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Mary A. Garza, PhD, MPH , Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Stephen B. Thomas, PhD , Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences & Research Center of Excellence on Minority Health Disparities, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Background: Family structures in the US are rapidly changing to include more single-parent mothers, which disproportionately affects the black population and may be contributing to the increased rate of depression among black mothers. It is important to explore protective factors for depression by race and family structure. This study examines the effect of different types of social support on the relationship between depression, race and marital status. Methods: Data from a 2008 random digit dial survey of residents in Greater Pittsburgh, PA were used in this analysis of white and black mothers. The CES-D scale and the Lubben Social Support scale were used to assess depression symptoms and social support. Results: We surveyed 399 black and white mothers aged 18 and older. Results indicate that on average black single mothers have the highest depression scores. And, although married and single black mothers have similar levels of social support, black married mothers have significantly lower depression scores (p=.014). Interestingly, black married mothers have fewer symptoms of depression than white married mothers, despite having less social support. Symptoms of depression among black mothers are predicted by “family social support” (p < 0.01), while among white mothers symptoms are predicted by “friend social support” (p < 0.01). Conclusions: These findings will provide a better understanding of racial differences in the role of social support as a protective factor among single black mothers and inform culturally tailored intervention strategies designed to eliminate racial disparities in depression for this priority population.

Learning Objectives:
1) Assess the racial and marital status differences in social support and its impact on depression among mothers 2) Discuss implications for intervention strategies for single black mothers

Keywords: Depression, Maternal Well-Being

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently a Kellogg Health Disparities Postdoctoral Scholar focusing on mental health disparities of black mothers. I am also a member of the research faculty in the Department of Biostatistics in the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh. I hold a BS in mathematics and have completed a MS and PH.D in statistics. I have extensive experience in analysis of complex data sets such as the random digit dial survey data in the present abstract. All of my primary research experience has been in health disparities research. Additionally, my co-authors are experienced members of the faculty in the University of Pittsburgh's School of Public Health who have expertise in health disparity research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.