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      Depression among Black Youth; Interaction of Class and Place

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          Although high socioeconomic status (SES) is traditionally conceptualized as a health protective factor, recent literature has documented positive associations between SES (e.g., income) and depression among Blacks, including Black youth. To extend the results of this recent literature, the current study used the Family and Community Health Study (FACHS) data to examine the multiplicative effects of gender, place, and SES on average depressive symptoms of Black youth over a long period of time. FACHS, 1997–2017, followed 889 Black children aged 10–12 years old for up to 18 years. Depressive symptoms were measured in seven waves. The main predictors of interest were two SES indicators, parent education and family income measured at baseline (1997). Main outcome of interest was average depressive symptoms over the 18 year follow up period. Place of residence and gender were the focal moderators. Linear regression models were used for data analysis. In the pooled sample, living in a predominantly White area was associated with higher average depressive symptoms over time, however, this association was fully explained by higher perceived racial discrimination in the predominantly White areas. We found an interaction between income and place of residence on average depressive symptoms, suggesting that higher income is associated with more depressive symptoms in predominantly White compared to predominantly Black areas. Place did not interact with parent education on average depressive symptoms. Gender also did not interact with education or income on depressive symptoms. Findings suggest that place and SES may interact on depressive symptoms of Black youth, with high income becoming a risk factor for depressive symptoms in predominantly White areas. How SES indicators, such as income, protect or become a risk factor depend on other contextual factors, such as place of residence. There is a need to reduce discrimination experienced by Blacks, especially in predominantly White areas. Meanwhile, Black youth who live in predominantly White areas may require additional help that enhances their coping.

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          Most cited references 145

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          Social Conditions As Fundamental Causes of Disease

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            Racial/ethnic discrimination and health: findings from community studies.

            The authors review the available empirical evidence from population-based studies of the association between perceptions of racial/ethnic discrimination and health. This research indicates that discrimination is associated with multiple indicators of poorer physical and, especially, mental health status. However, the extant research does not adequately address whether and how exposure to discrimination leads to increased risk of disease. Gaps in the literature include limitations linked to measurement of discrimination, research designs, and inattention to the way in which the association between discrimination and health unfolds over the life course. Research on stress points to important directions for the future assessment of discrimination and the testing of the underlying processes and mechanisms by which discrimination can lead to changes in health.
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              Social conditions as fundamental causes of health inequalities: theory, evidence, and policy implications.

              Link and Phelan (1995) developed the theory of fundamental causes to explain why the association between socioeconomic status (SES) and mortality has persisted despite radical changes in the diseases and risk factors that are presumed to explain it. They proposed that the enduring association results because SES embodies an array of resources, such as money, knowledge, prestige, power, and beneficial social connections that protect health no matter what mechanisms are relevant at any given time. In this article, we explicate the theory, review key findings, discuss refinements and limits to the theory, and discuss implications for health policies that might reduce health inequalities. We advocate policies that encourage medical and other health-promoting advances while at the same time breaking or weakening the link between these advances and socioeconomic resources. This can be accomplished either by reducing disparities in socioeconomic resources themselves or by developing interventions that, by their nature, are more equally distributed across SES groups.

                Author and article information

                Brain Sci
                Brain Sci
                Brain Sciences
                12 June 2018
                June 2018
                : 8
                : 6
                [1 ]Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
                [2 ]BRITE Center for Science, Research and Policy, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
                [3 ]Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
                [4 ]Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
                [5 ]Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA; rick.gibbons@
                [6 ]Department of Sociology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA; rsimons@
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: assari@ ; Tel.: +1-734-232-0445
                © 2018 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (



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