JAMA: African-American women who live in rural areas have lower rates of major depressive disorder (MDD) and mood disorder compared with their urban counterparts, while rural non-Hispanic white women have higher rates for both than their urban counterparts, according to an article published online by JAMA Psychiatry.
MDD is a common and debilitating mental illness and the prevalence of
depression among both African Americans and rural residents is
understudied, according to background in the study.
Addie Weaver, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and
coauthors examined the interaction of urban vs. rural residence and
race/ethnicity on lifetime and 12-month MDD and mood disorder in
African-American and non-Hispanic white women.
The authors used data from the U.S. National Survey of American Life,
a nationally representative household survey, which includes a
substantial proportion of rural and suburban respondents, all of whom
were recruited from southern states. Participants included 1,462
African-American women and 341 non-Hispanic white women.
Overall, when compared with African-American women, non-Hispanic
white women had higher lifetime prevalences of MDD (21.3 percent vs.
10.1 percent) and mood disorder (21.8 percent vs. 13.6 percent). And
non-Hispanic white women also had higher prevalences of 12-month MDD
than African-American women (8.8 percent vs. 5.5 percent), according to
The study also found that rural African-American women had lower
prevalence rates of lifetime (4.2 percent) and 12-month (1.5 percent)
MDD compared with their urban counterparts (10.4 percent and 5.3
percent, respectively). The rates were adjusted by urbanicity and
The same was true for mood disorder, with rural African-American
women having lower adjusted prevalence rates of lifetime (6.7 percent)
and 12-month (3.3 percent) mood disorder when compared to their urban
counterparts (13.9 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively), according to
However, rural non-Hispanic white women had higher rates of 12-month
MDD (10.3 percent) and mood disorder (10.3 percent) than their urban
counterparts (3.7 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively).
“These findings offer an important first step toward understanding
the cumulative effect of rural residence and race/ethnicity on MDD among
African-American women and non-Hispanic white women and suggest the
need for further research in this area. This study adds to the small,
emerging body of research on the correlates of MDD among African
Americans,” the study concludes.
(JAMA Psychiatry. Published online April 8, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.10. Available pre-embargo to the media at http://media.jamanetwork.com.)
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