238012 Understanding Depression Among Diverse African American Women: A Qualitative Study

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Kisha Holden, PhD , Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
Depression is one of the most prevalent mental health problems in the United States and is associated with considerable impairment in functioning. There is a critical lack of mental health research concerning depression relative to African American women. The purpose of this study was to ascertain African American women's views about contributors and risk factors for depression. The research participants included a convenience sample of 63 adult African American women recruited from an urban community (n= 15), a community based primary healthcare center (n= 23), and a small private academic institution (n = 25). Three mental health and wellness empowerment sessions were held for each of the three cohorts of women where they participated in focus groups. There were several unique themes that emerged from each of the cohorts of women. However, among the total sample of women it was suggested that depression is experienced differently by women from various ethnicities; and they indicated the following issues as significant considerations for understanding depression as it relates to African American women: chronic stress; health problems; economic problems; problems within personal relationships; overwhelming caregiver responsibilities; societal pressure to succeed; racism and sexism within society; self-doubt/poor self-acceptance and satisfaction; and poor personal spiritual/religious foundation. It was concluded that African American women are frequently confronted with a constellation of multiple issues that can elevate their risk for depression. It is imperative that researchers, clinicians, and public health professionals carefully examine mental and behavioral health conditions, especially depression, from holistic, culturally responsive, and contextual perspectives.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
At the conclusion of this presentation the learner will be able to describe specific psychosocial, environmental, and sociocultural issues that contribute to experiences of depression among diverse African American women.

Keywords: African American, Depression

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: N/A

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I oversee community based mental and behavioral health research studies at Morehouse School of Medicine.
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.