Racial differences in the frequency of depressive symptoms among community dwelling elders: the role of socioeconomic factors.
In a biracial sample of community dwelling elders (n=4162, the Duke EPESE), African-Americans endorsed more items than Whites on a standardized depression scale, the CES-D, in unadjusted, cross-sectional analyses. However, indices of socioeconomic status (e.g., education and problems meeting needs) were found to mediate the relationship between race and depression. When these socioeconomic variables were included in cross-sectional analyses, the association between depressive symptoms and race reversed such that Whites were significantly more likely to endorse depressive symptoms than African-Americans. Further, whereas in unadjusted, longitudinal analyses, race was unrelated to changes in depressive symptoms over time, with the inclusion of the socioeconomic variables Whites were found to endorse more depressive symptoms than African-Americans. We conclude that socioeconomic variables influence the size and direction of racial differences in the endorsement of depressive symptoms in community dwelling elders.
Sachs-Ericsson, N; Plant, EA; Blazer, DG
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