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Racial and socioeconomic status differences in depressive symptoms among black and white youth: An examination of the mediating effects of family structure, stress and support.

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Byron A. Miller

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Stress research shows that race, socioeconomic status (SES), and family context significantly impact an adolescent’s psychological well-being, yet little is known about the mediating effects of family context on racial and SES differences in depressive symptoms among Black and White youth. We investigate these associations using a sample of 875 (45% female) from a South Florida community-based study of youth mostly between the ages of 19 and 21. Ordinary least squares (OLS) analyses find that Blacks and lower SES youth have more depressive symptoms than Whites and those in higher SES families. Racial disparities are partially mediated by family related stressors and SES differences are fully explained by family stressors and emotional support. We also find that emotional family support conditions the relationship between race and depressive symptoms such that Whites experience more depressive symptoms at lower levels of emotional support but Blacks have more symptoms at higher levels. The findings highlight the importance of identifying factors within the family context that influence a youth’s psychological well-being and ability to cope with adversities.


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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.