Faculty Publications


Cross-cultural perspectives on illness and wellness: Implications for depression.

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Frank A. Biafora

Document Type


Publication Date


Date Issued

January 1995

Date Available

September 2014




The purpose of this research is to determine the relationships among race, socioeconomic status (SES) and depressive symptomatology. Contrary to the findings of over 20 years of psychiatric epidemiology, two research teams have recently reported that Blacks, primarily those of low SES, are significantly more depressed than Whites occupying the same status. Using the same epidemiologic field survey data as one of these research groups (Whites=1,648; Blacks=450), the issues of race, SES, and depression are reopened for examination. Depressive symptomatology was measured by the Florida Health Study Depression Scale. The findings indicated that, in general, Blacks had significantly higher levels of depressive symptomatology than Whites. However, these differences were eliminated once SES, a composite of occupational status, education, and household income, was statistically controlled. Race, in other words, was not found to be an independent predictor of depression. The author concludes that poverty is hazardous to one's psychological well-being and that race, by itself, is merely a proxy for socioeconomic status. In addition, methodological issues associated with the conceptualization and operationalization of socioeconomic status and mental health constructs such as depression are explored.


Abstract only. Full-text article is available only through licensed access provided by the publisher. Published in Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless, 4(2), 105-129. DOI:10.1007/BF02094612 Members of the USF System may access the full-text of the article through the authenticated link provided.




Maney Publishing