Anyone can have symptoms of depression, but the measures used to predict a white person’s likelihood of exhibiting signs of clinical depression are not the same as those that should be used for people of color, according to recent University of Michigan research.
The study, published in Frontiers in Public Health, indicates that while a numerical count of depressive symptoms is enough to accurately predict the likelihood of whites having clinical depression in the future, this method is less of an accurate predictor for depression in Black individuals. Rather, self-rated health — or one’s own perception of their overall health — is a better indicator of future depressive symptoms for Black individuals.
“We expect count of depressive symptoms to be a very strong predictor of subsequent clinical disorders,” said Shervin Assari, psychiatric research investigator and lead author of the study. “But we found that that’s not the case for Blacks. If you count the number of symptoms and expect that number of symptoms to be a strong predictor of the disorder, which is the general belief, it’s only true for whites; it isn’t true for Blacks.”