Depression More Likely in African-Americans and Latinos

M.A., Health Writer

A lot of us are depressed, with the National Institute of Mental Health reporting in 2016 that approximately 16.2 million adults in the United States have had at least one major depressive episode. Now, a report published in the journal Preventive Medicine shows that African- Americans and Latinos experience more depression than whites — but not due to chronic stress. In addition, the authors of the study say that both African-Americans and Latinos are more likely to have higher levels of chronic stress and more unhealthy behaviors.

Researchers analyzed data on more than 12,000 participants ages 40 to 70, collected from 2005 to 2012, as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The goal was to understand how to best improve overall health by examining how unhealthy behaviors, chronic stress, and risk of depression by race and ethnicity relate to each other. They called the relationships "complex."

For all three groups:

  • Chronic stress didn't affect the relationship between unhealthy behavior and chance for depression.

  • Unhealthy behaviors didn't alter the association between stress and chance for depression.

  • More education offered more protection against depression.

  • Surprisingly, chronic stress levels were inversely related to excessive or binge drinking, meaning the more stress, the less excess drinking.

Sourced from: Preventive Medicine