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Lonhala Magnair

Elderly Blacks Less Likely than Elderly Whites to Receive a Depression Diagnosis or Treatment

Researchers examining racial and ethnic disparities in the diagnosis and treatment of depression among the elderly found that 4.2% of Blacks received a diagnosis of depression compared to 6.4% of Whites, 7.2% of Hispanics, and 3.8% of other groups.

Blacks who were diagnosed were also less likely to be treated for depression than non-Hispanic Whites. For example, among Blacks diagnosed with depression, 39.6% did not receive treatment compared with 27%  of Whites.

The authors point out that differences in depression diagnosis rates among racial/ethnic groups may be the result of both differences in underlying rates of pathology and underdiagnosis of depression in certain groups.

They also suggest a need to look at other factors, including racial/ethnic differences in depression help-seeking behaviors, stigma, knowledge, and attitudes.

For details, see Akincigil, A. (2012). Racial and ethnic disparities in depression care in community-dwelling elderly in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 102(2), 319-328.

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