Race differences in depressive symptoms: a dynamic perspective on stress exposure and vulnerability.


Journal Article

The existence, nature, and strength of race differences in mental health remain unclear after several decades of research. In this research, we examine black-white differences in the relationship between acute stressors and depressive symptoms. We reframe the stress exposure and differential vulnerability hypotheses in the context of long-term trajectories of stress and depression, and we hypothesize that trajectories of stress growth will be associated with trajectories of depressive symptom growth. Using latent growth curve analysis of a sample of 1,972 older persons interviewed three times at three-year intervals, we test the hypotheses that (1) growth in exposure to loss-related events will predict growth in depressive symptoms, and (2) African Americans will experience greater stress growth than whites. Results support the hypotheses. Stress growth exhibited a linear increase for blacks but not for whites, and predicted depression growth for both races, but explained more variance for blacks than for whites.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • George, LK; Lynch, SM

Published Date

  • September 2003

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 44 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 353 - 369

PubMed ID

  • 14582313

Pubmed Central ID

  • 14582313

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2150-6000

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-1465


  • eng