High socioeconomic status (SES) may make young African American patients more likely to experience perceived discrimination when seeking medical treatment, which in turn may contribute to their risk for major depressive disorder (MDD), according to a new study.
“In most settings and for most populations, high socioeconomic status (SES) is protective,” lead author, Shervin Assari, MD, MPH, told MD Magazine. “For example, high SES protects populations against the risk of depression. However, this seems not to be the case for African Americans, particularly African American men, in whom high SES is found to increase the risk for depression. Researchers have been trying to find the underlying mechanisms behind this counterintuitive phenomenon.”
“Previously, this pattern was attributed to the increased exposure of high-SES African Americans to discrimination,” Assari, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, added.
In a cross-sectional study, he and his research team examined the effects of discrimination on patients with MDD in relation to SES in a sample of 810 young African Americans from the National Survey of American Life-Adolescent supplement. They looked at perceived discrimination along with MDD over the course of 30 days, then at 12 months, and then over the course of their lifetime. They also factored in age and gender, as well as subjective and objective indicators, such as income and poverty index. They analyzed their results using logistic regressions.
Perceived discrimination in everyday life was reported using the Everyday Discrimination Scale (EDS) over the course of 1 year. According to the authors, “the EDS is a subtle measure of experience of discrimination, well-validated and widely used.”
Read the full article, published in MD Magazine, by clicking on the title link.