271238 African Americans, Caribbean Blacks, Depression, and Neighborhood Disadvantage

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 11:10 AM - 11:30 AM

Julia Hastings, MSW, PhD , School of Public Health and School of Social Welfare, University at Albany, SUNY, Rensselaer, NY
Lonnie Snowden, PhD , School of Public Health/Division of Health Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Sara Kimberlin, MSW , School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
ABSTRACT Objective: We investigated whether neighborhood disadvantage served as a risk factor for depression. We were most interested in lower socioeconomic Blacks because low income Blacks disproportionately reside in disadvantaged neighborhoods and because, presuming that it is neighborhood characteristics themselves which yield adverse outcomes like depression, US housing policy emphasizes breaking-up poverty neighborhoods. Methods: This was a secondary analysis of data that stratified the National Survey of American Life (NSAL) sample of 5,019 African Americans and Caribbean Blacks into lower, middle, and higher socioeconomic status (SES) subsamples. Results: After controlling for remaining individual demographic characteristics within SES strata, the association between perceived neighborhood social disorder and past-year depression was statistically significant for Low SES individuals (at or below the federal poverty line) (OR=1.73 [CI: 1.07, 2.81]; p=0.026), and at the boundary of significance for Mid SES individuals (between 100% and 300% of the poverty line) (OR=1.74 [CI: 1.00, 3.02]; p=0.049), but not for High SES individuals (at or above 300% of the poverty line) in this nationally representative sample of Black Americans. Conclusion: Results suggest, at least for low and middle income African Americans, that perceived neighborhood social disorder is a risk factor for depression and, insofar as they can improve neighborhoods and reduce neighborhood disadvantage, that housing and community development policies aimed at neighborhood improvement and poverty de-concentration may benefit the mental health of low-income African Americans and Caribbean Blacks especially.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
1. To identify U.S. low-income housing policies and how they might benefit mental health. 2. To describe how neighborhood types are related to depression for African Americans. 3. To discuss the types of interventions social workers might support to improve communities.

Keywords: African American, Depression

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be named on the abstract because I am an assistant professor conducting research focused on understanding health and mental health disparities among African Americans. I also teach courses on health disparities and completed a two year training at the NIA Biomedical Research Center.
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.