Mental Health

Jobless Black Men More Prone to Depression

| by Alex Groberman

According to new study reported on by the Health Behavior News Service, jobless African-American men appear to be at a greater risk of suffering from depression. While the issue of unemployment offers at least one possible reason for why symptoms of depression may be experienced, more puzzling is the fact that African-American men who were making more than $80,000 were still at a higher risk for depression.

In order to come to their conclusions, Darrell Hudson, Ph.D., and his fellow researchers carefully screened the data provided by the National Survey of American Life. During their analysis, they took into account how much various factors like social class, income, education, wealth, employment and parental education related to depressive symptoms.

“After measuring depression in a very comprehensive way, the results were not very consistent. We need to figure out as a general public: Is there a cost associated with socioeconomic position or moving in an upward trajectory?” said Hudson.

For the purpose of this research, 3,570 African American men and women who experienced depressive episodes within the past year of their lives were studied. Men who made over $80,000 reported more symptoms of depression last year than those making less than $17,000. However, unemployed black men were more likely to report depression in the last year compared to employed men. Men who who completed some college or beyond were less likely to experience depressive symptoms than those who did not complete high school.

Women on the other hand, appeared to not suffer the same rates of depression. Females who earned between $45,000 and $79,999 were less likely to report symptoms of depression than those with the least income.

This study appeared in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatry Epidemiology.

“One thing could be going on with African-American men with greater incomes: the more likely they are to work in integrated settings, the more likely to be exposed to racial discrimination,” Hudson said. “Racial discrimination can undermine some of the positive effects of socioeconomic position like the increased benefits of health and feeling better.”

“African-Americans with greater socioeconomic resources are farther away from their social support network, both physically and socially.”

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