Urban vs Rural Residence and the Prevalence of Depression and Mood Disorder Among African American Women and Non-Hispanic White Women

Black women are much less likely to report suffering from depression than white women are, a new study suggests.

Researchers culled responses from more than 1,400 black women and more than 340 white women who took part in a national survey, and found that only 10 percent of black women reported struggling with the mental health disorder at some point in their lives, compared with 21 percent of white women.

White women were also much more likely than black women to say they’d had major depression within the past 12 months (almost 9 percent versus 5.5 percent, respectively), and to have had a mood disorder at some point in their life (about 22 percent versus nearly 14 percent, respectively).

Where women lived also played a part in depression rates, the investigators found.

Among black women, 4 percent of those in rural areas and 10 percent of those in cities said they had suffered major depression in their lifetime, while 1.5 percent of those in rural areas and 5 percent of those in cities said they’d had major depression within the past 12 months.

Black women in rural areas were also less likely than those in cities to report having a mood disorder in their lifetime (almost 7 percent versus 14 percent, respectively), or in the past 12 months (3 percent versus more than 7 percent, respectively).

The reverse was true among white women, the study found. Those in rural areas were more likely than those in cities to report having major depression or mood disorder within the past 12 months (10 percent versus almost 4 percent, respectively).

“These findings offer an important first step toward understanding the cumulative effect of rural residence and race/ethnicity on [major depression among black women and white women], and suggest the need for further research in this area,” study author Addie Weaver, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, said in a journal news release.

Population of focus: African American Women and Non-Hispanic White Women

Links to resource:

Date: 2015

Journal: JAMA Psychiatry