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1.  Psychosocial predictors of depression among older African American cancer patients 
Oncology nursing forum  2013;40(4):394-402.
To determine whether psychosocial factors predict depression among older African American cancer patients.
A descriptive correlational study.
Outpatient oncology clinic of NCI designated Cancer Center in Southeastern U.S.
African American cancer patients aged 50 and over.
Fisher’s Exact and Wilcoxon Rank Sum tests were used to evaluate differences between patients who were possibly depressed (Geriatric Depression Scale) or not. Multivariate linear regression statistics were used to identify the psychosocial factors that predicted higher depression scores. Education and gender were included as covariates.
Main Variables
Religiosity, emotional support, collectivism, perceived stigma and depression.
African American cancer patients (n=77) were on average a median age of 58 years (IQR = 55–65), a majority were well-educated, insured, religiously affiliated, and currently in treatment. Participants in the lowest income category, not married, and male gender had higher depression scores. The multivariable model consisting of organized religion, emotional support, collectivism, education, and gender explained 52% (adjusted R2) of the variation in depression scores. Stigma became insignificant in the multivariable model.
Psychosocial factors are important predictors of depression. For these participants, emotional support and organized religious activities may represent protective factors against depression, while collectivism may increase their risk.
Nurses need to be especially aware of the potential psychological strain for patients with collectivist values, experienced stigma, disruptions in church attendance and lack of emotional support. Further, these treatment plans for these patients should ensure that family members are knowledgeable about cancer, its treatment and side effects so they are empowered to meet the needs for support of the African American cancer patient.
PMCID: PMC3753674  PMID: 23803271
depression; stigma; religion; collectivism; social support; African American cancer patients
2.  Correlates of Depressive Symptomatology in African American Breast Cancer Patients 
This study assessed the levels of depressive symptomatology in African Americans women with breast cancer compared to those of women without breast cancer and examined demographic, psychosocial, and clinical factors were correlated with depression.
A total of 152 African American women were recruited from Washington DC and surrounding suburbs. Breast cancer patients (n=76 cases) were recruited from a healthcare center and women without cancer were recruited from health fairs (n=76 comparison). We assessed depression, psychosocial variables (ego strength and social support) and socio-demographic factors from in-person interviews. Stage and clinical factors were abstracted from medical records. Independent sample t-test, chi square test, ANOVA, and multiple regression models were used to identify differences in depression and correlates of depression among the cases and comparison groups.
Women with breast cancer reported significantly greater levels of depression (m=11.5 SD=5.0) than women without breast cancer (m=3.9; SD=3.8) (p<.001). Higher cancer stage (beta=.91) and higher age (beta =.11) were associated with depression in the breast patients, explaining 84% of the variance. In the comparison group, ego strength and tangible support were inversely associated with depressive symptoms, accounting for 32% of the variance.
Women with more advanced disease may require interdisciplinary approaches to cancer care (i.e., caring for the whole person).
Implications for cancer survivors
Depression is often under-recognized and under-treated in African American breast cancer patients. Understanding the factors related to depression is necessary to integrate psychosocial needs to routine cancer care to improve survivors’ quality of life.
PMCID: PMC3737401  PMID: 23471730
Breast cancer; oncology; depression; African American; ego strength; social support
3.  Assessment of depression and anxiety in adult cancer outpatients: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:594.
The prevalence of anxiety and depressive disorders in cancer patients and its associated factors in Pakistan is not known. There is a need to develop an evidence base to help introduce interventions as untreated depression and anxiety can lead to significant morbidity. We assessed the prevalence of depression and anxiety among adult outpatients with and without cancer as well as the effect of various demographic, clinical and behavioral factors on levels of depression and anxiety in cancer patients.
This cross-sectional study was carried out in outpatient departments of Multan Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy and Nishtar Medical College Hospital, Multan. Aga Khan University Anxiety and Depression Scale (AKUADS) was used to define the presence of depression and anxiety in study participants. The sample consisted of 150 diagnosed cancer patients and 268 participants without cancer (control group).
The mean age of cancer patients was 40.85 years (SD = 16.46) and median illness duration was 5.5 months, while the mean age of the control group was 39.58 years (SD = 11.74). Overall, 66.0% of the cancer patients were found to have depression and anxiety using a cutoff score of 20 on AKUADS. Among the control group, 109 subjects (40.7%) had depression and anxiety. Cancer patients were significantly more likely to suffer from distress compared to the control group (OR = 2.83, 95% CI = 1.89-4.25, P = 0.0001). Performing logistic regression analysis showed that age up to 40 years significantly influenced the prevalence of depression and anxiety in cancer patients. There was no statistically significant difference between gender, marital status, locality, education, income, occupation, physical activity, smoking, cancer site, illness duration and mode of treatment, surgery related to cancer and presence of depression and anxiety. Cancers highly associated with depression and anxiety were gastrointestinal malignancies, chest tumors and breast cancer.
This study highlights high prevalence rates of depression and anxiety in cancer patients. Younger age was associated with a higher likelihood of meeting criteria for psychological morbidity. The findings support screening patients for symptoms of depression and anxiety as part of standard cancer care and referring those at a higher risk of developing psychological morbidity for appropriate care.
PMCID: PMC2988751  PMID: 21034465
4.  Effect of Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea on Depressive Symptoms: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(11):e1001762.
In a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, Matthew James and colleagues investigate the effects of continuous positive airway pressure or mandibular advancement devices on depression.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is associated with increased morbidity and mortality, and decreased quality of life. Treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or mandibular advancement devices (MADs) is effective for many symptoms of OSA. However, it remains controversial whether treatment with CPAP or MAD also improves depressive symptoms.
Methods and Findings
We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that examined the effect of CPAP or MADs on depressive symptoms in patients with OSA. We searched Medline, EMBASE, the Cochrane Central Registry of Controlled Trials, and PsycINFO from the inception of the databases until August 15, 2014, for relevant articles.
In a random effects meta-analysis of 19 identified trials, CPAP treatment resulted in an improvement in depressive symptoms compared to control, but with significant heterogeneity between trials (Q statistic, p<0.001; I2 = 71.3%, 95% CI: 54%, 82%). CPAP treatment resulted in significantly greater improvement in depressive symptoms in the two trials with a higher burden of depression at baseline (meta-regression, p<0.001). The pooled standardized mean difference (SMD) in depressive symptoms with CPAP treatment in these two trial populations with baseline depression was 2.004 (95% CI: 1.387, 2.621), compared to 0.197 (95% CI: 0.059, 0.334) for 15 trials of populations without depression at baseline. Pooled estimates of the treatment effect of CPAP were greater in parallel arm trials than in crossover trials (meta-regression, p = 0.076). Random effects meta-analysis of five trials of MADs showed a significant improvement in depressive symptoms with MADs versus controls: SMD = 0.214 (95% CI: 0.026, 0.401) without significant heterogeneity (I2 = 0%, 95% CI: 0%, 79%). Studies were limited by the use of depressive symptom scales that have not been validated specifically in people with OSA.
CPAP and MADs may be useful components of treatment of depressive symptoms in individuals with OSA and depression. The efficacy of CPAP and MADs compared to standard therapies for depression is unknown.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep-related breathing disorder that is particularly common among middle-aged and elderly people, although most are unaware that they have the condition. It is characterized by the occurrence of numerous brief (ten seconds or so) breathing interruptions during sleep. These “apneas” occur when relaxation of the upper airway muscles decreases airflow, which lowers the level of oxygen in the blood. Consequently, affected individuals are frequently aroused from deep sleep as they struggle to breathe. Symptoms of OSA include loud snoring and daytime sleepiness. Treatments include lifestyle changes such as losing weight (excess fat around the neck increases airway collapse) and smoking cessation. Mild to moderate OSA can also be treated using a mandibular advancement device (MAD), a “splint” that fits inside the mouth and pushes the jaw and tongue forward to increase the space at the back of the throat and reduce airway narrowing. For severe OSA, doctors recommend continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), in which a machine blows pressurized air into the airway through a facemask to keep it open.
Why Was This Study Done?
OSA is a serious condition that is associated with an increased risk of illness and death. Clinical depression (long-lasting, overwhelming feelings of sadness and hopelessness), for example, is common among people with OSA. The interaction between these frequently co-morbid (co-existing) conditions is complex. The sleep disruption and weight gain that are often associated with depression could cause or worsen OSA. Conversely, OSA could trigger depression by causing sleep disruption and by inducing cognitive changes (changes in thinking) by intermittently starving the brain of oxygen. If the latter scenario is correct, then treating OSA with CPAP or MADs might improve depressive symptoms. Several trials have investigated this possibility, but their results have been equivocal. Here, the researchers undertake a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that have examined the effect of CPAP or MADs on depressive symptoms in patients with OSA to find out whether treating co-morbid OSA in patients with depression can help to treat depression. A randomized controlled trial compares the outcomes of individuals chosen to receive different interventions through the play of chance, a systematic review uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic, and meta-analysis uses statistical methods to combine the results of several studies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 22 trials that investigated the effects of CPAP or MAD treatment in patients with OSA and that measured depressive symptoms before and after treatment. Meta-analysis of the results of 19 trials that provided information about the effect of CPAP on depressive symptoms indicated that CPAP improved depressive symptoms compared to the control intervention (usually sham CPAP) but revealed considerable heterogeneity (variability) between trials. Notably, CPAP treatment resulted in a greater improvement in depressive symptoms in trials in which there was a high prevalence of depression at baseline than in trials in which there was a low prevalence of depression at baseline. Moreover, the magnitude of this improvement in depressive symptoms in trials with a high prevalence of depression at baseline was large enough to be clinically relevant. Meta-analysis of five trials that provided information about the effect of MADs on depressive symptoms indicated that MADs also improved depressive symptoms compared to the control intervention (sham MAD).
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that both CPAP and MAD treatment for OSA can result in modest improvements in depressive symptoms and that populations with high initial levels of depressive symptoms may reap the greatest benefits of CPAP treatment. These findings give no indication of the efficacy of CPAP and MADs compared to standard treatments for depression such as antidepressant medications. Moreover, their accuracy may be limited by methodological limitations within the trials included in the meta-analyses reported here. For example, the questionnaires used to measure depression in these trials were not validated for use in people with OSA. Further high-quality randomized controlled trials are therefore needed to confirm the findings of this systematic review and meta-analysis. For now, however, these findings suggest that the use of CPAP and MADs may help improve depressive symptoms among people with OSA.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has information (including several videos) about sleep apnea (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information and personal stories about obstructive sleep apnea and depression
The not-for-profit American Sleep Apnea Association provides detailed information about sleep apnea for patients and healthcare professionals, including personal stories about the condition
The US National Institute of Mental Health provides information on all aspects of depression (in English and Spanish)
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America provides information about sleep disorders
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia has a page on obstructive sleep apnea; MedlinePlus provides links to further information and advice about obstructive sleep apnea and about depression (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC4244041  PMID: 25423175
5.  Initial Evidence of Religious Practice and Belief in Depressed African American Cancer Patients 
This study examined spiritual coping (beliefs and practices) of depressed African American cancer patients through a comparison with depressed White cancer patients and non-depressed African American cancer patients.
Using mixed methods, 74 breast (n=41) and prostate (n=33) cancer survivors including 34 depressed and 23 nondepressed African Americans and 17 depressed Whites were interviewed. The interviews were audiotaped and transcribed. Qualitative data analysis identified themes that were coded. The codes were entered into SPSS software. The Fisher’s exact test was performed to examine group differences in self-reported spiritual coping.
Significantly more depressed African Americans questioned God when learning of a cancer diagnosis than the non-depressed African Americans (p=.03), but they did not differ from the depressed Whites in this regard (p=.70). Significantly more depressed African Americans reported having faith in God (p=.04), reading the bible (p=.02), and conversing with God (p=.01) than did the depressed Whites. They also reported praying alone (p=.01) more frequently than the depressed Whites who, on the other hand, reported praying with others (non-family members) together for one’s own health more frequently (p=.04).
Depression is associated with a deepening need for spirituality and it affects religious beliefs and practices more in African American than White cancer patients. Given its important role in the lives of African American cancer patients, spirituality may be utilized as a reasonable, culturally-based approach to better assess and treat depression in these patients.
PMCID: PMC3551236  PMID: 23346265
African American; cancer; depression; race; pray; religion; spirituality.
6.  Prevalence of depression among older Americans: the Aging, Demographics and Memory Study 
Previous studies have attempted to provide estimates of depression prevalence in older adults. The Aging, Demographics and Memory Study (ADAMS) is a population-representative study that included a depression assessment, providing an opportunity to estimate the prevalence of depression in late life in the U.S.A.
The ADAMS sample was drawn from the larger Health and Retirement Study. A total of 851 of 856 ADAMS participants aged 71 and older had available depression data. Depression was measured using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview – Short Form (CIDI-SF) and the informant depression section of the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI). We estimated the national prevalence of depression, stratified by age, race, sex, and cognitive status. Logistic regression analyses were performed to examine the association of depression and previously reported risk factors for the condition.
When combining symptoms of major or minor depression with reported treatment for depression, we found an overall depression prevalence of 11.19%. Prevalence was similar for men (10.19%) and women (11.44%). Whites and Hispanics had nearly three times the prevalence of depression found in African-Americans. Dementia diagnosis and pain severity were associated with increased depression prevalence, while black race was associated with lower rates of depression.
The finding of similar prevalence estimates for depression in men and women was not consistent with prior research that has shown a female predominance. Given the population-representativeness of our sample, similar depression rates between the sexes in ADAMS may result from racial, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity.
PMCID: PMC2747379  PMID: 19519984
depression; elderly; prevalence
7.  Retention and Attrition Among African Americans in the STAR*D Study: What Causes Research Volunteers to Stay or Stray? 
Depression and anxiety  2013;30(11):10.1002/da.22134.
High attrition rates among African-Americans (AA) volunteers are a persistent problem that makes clinical trials less representative and complicates estimation of treatment outcomes. Many studies contrast AA with other ethnic/racial groups, but few compare the AA volunteers who remain in treatment with those who leave. Here, in addition to comparing patterns of attrition between African Americans and whites, we identify predictors of overall and early attrition among African Americans.
Sample comprised non-Hispanic African-American (n=673) and white (n=2,549) participants in the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) study. Chi-square tests were used to examine racial group differences in reasons for exit. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine predictors of overall attrition, early attrition (by Level 2) and top reasons cited for attrition among African Americans.
For both African-American and white dropouts, non-compliance reasons for attrition were most commonly cited during the earlier phases of the study while reasons related to efficacy and medication side effects were cited later in the study. Satisfaction with treatment strongly predicted overall attrition among African Americans independent of socioeconomic, clinical, medical or psychosocial factors. Early attrition among African American dropouts was associated with less psychiatric comorbidity, and higher perceived physical functioning but greater severity of clinician-rated depression.
The decision to drop out is a dynamic process that changes over the course of a clinical trial. Strategies aimed at retaining African Americans in such trials should emphasize engagement with treatment and patient satisfaction immediately following enrollment and after treatment initiation.
PMCID: PMC3818393  PMID: 23723044
Research Volunteers; Ethnic Groups; Blacks; Depression; Disparities; Treatment
8.  Early Life Predictors of Adult Depression in a Community Cohort of Urban African Americans 
Depression among African Americans residing in urban communities is a complex, major public health problem; however, few studies identify early life risk factors for depression among urban African American men and women. To better inform prevention programming, this study uses data from the Woodlawn Study, a well-defined community cohort of urban African Americans followed from age 6 to 42 years, to determine depression prevalence through midlife and identify childhood and adolescent risk factors for adult depression separately by gender. Results indicate that lifetime depression rates do not differ significantly by gender (16.2 % of men, 18.8 % of women) in contrast to findings of a higher prevalence for women in national studies. Furthermore, rates of depression in this urban African American population are higher than those found in national samples of African Americans and more comparable to the higher rates found nationally among Whites. Regarding early predictors, for both men and women, family conflict in adolescence is a risk factor for adult depression in multivariate regression models. For women, vulnerability to depression has roots in early life, specifically, low maternal aspirations for school attainment. Females displaying more aggressive and delinquent behavior and those growing up in a female-headed household and a household with low maternal education have elevated rates of depression. Males growing up in persistent poverty, those engaging in greater delinquent behavior, and those with low parental supervision in adolescence also have elevated rates of depression. Effective prevention programming for urban African Americans must consider both individual characteristics and the family dynamic.
PMCID: PMC3579304  PMID: 22689296
African Americans; Depression; Gender differences; Life course; Longitudinal data; Risk factors
9.  Association between Depression and Inflammation – Differences by Race and Sex: The META-Health Study 
Psychosomatic medicine  2011;73(6):462-468.
To test whether the association between depression and inflammation differs by race and sex. Depressive symptoms have been associated with higher levels of CRP. However few studies have examined this association in samples including a significant number of African Americans, or whether the association differs by race and gender.
Depressive symptoms and CRP were assessed in 512 African American and White participants, age 30–65 years, as part of the community-based META-Health Study. Depression was determined by responses to the Beck’s Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II). Multivariable linear regression models were used to adjust for demographic and metabolic risk factors.
African American men had higher total BDI-II scores than White men (p=0.03), while there was no difference in women. There was a significant race X gender X depression interaction in predicting CRP levels (p=0.02). White women with mild to severe depressive symptoms had higher levels of CRP compared to those with minimal to no depressive symptoms (p<0.05). There were no differences in levels of CRP by severity of depressive symptoms in White men or African Americans of either sex. Higher BDI-II scores were related to higher CRP levels in White women after adjusting for age and level of education (β=0.227, p=0.006). However the association was eliminated after further adjustment for metabolic risk factors (β=0.077, p=0.35).
Although depressive symptoms are associated with inflammation, the association varies by race and gender.
PMCID: PMC3951048  PMID: 21715300
depression; inflammation; race/ethnicity; gender
10.  Discord of Biological and Psychological Measures in a Group of Depressed African American and White Cancer Patients 
The Open Nursing Journal  2011;5:60-64.
This study examined racial differences in the self-report of depressive symptoms by reference to biological states.
The study used a convenience sample of 20 depressed cancer patients (CES-D ≥16) (15 African Americans and 5 Whites). Subjects completed depression assessment on a battery of psychological measures and provided blood and saliva samples. Laboratory tests were performed on biomarkers (serotonin, cortisol and IL-6). T-test was computed to examine racial differences on biological and psychological measures.
Depressed Whites had a significantly higher cortisol level than depressed African Americans, but no significant group difference was found on any self-reported psychological measures of depression. There was a trend that African Americans reported fewer depressive symptoms on psychological measures but exceeded Whites on the domain of somatization; however, such group differences did not approach statistic significance in this small sample.
African Americans did not appear to underreport depression in consideration of their biological states, but had a tendency to report more somatic symptoms than Whites; this may be attributable to non-depression diseases or reporting behavior rather than somatic sensitivity. African Americans exhibited more mistrust in the health care system, which could affect the self-report of depression. There is a discord between biological and psychological measures of depression. Biomarkers prove to be useful for evaluating racial difference in the self-report of depression.
Implication for Nursing:
Nurses should be cautious of somatic complaints when assessing African American cancer patient’s depression. Establishing trust is essential for an accurate assessment of depression in African American cancer patients.
PMCID: PMC3227875  PMID: 22135714
African American; biomarker; cancer; cortisol; depression; race.
11.  A community-integrated home based depression intervention for older African Americans: descripton of the Beat the Blues randomized trial and intervention costs 
BMC Geriatrics  2012;12:4.
Primary care is the principle setting for depression treatment; yet many older African Americans in the United States fail to report depressive symptoms or receive the recommended standard of care. Older African Americans are at high risk for depression due to elevated rates of chronic illness, disability and socioeconomic distress. There is an urgent need to develop and test new depression treatments that resonate with minority populations that are hard-to-reach and underserved and to evaluate their cost and cost-effectiveness.
Beat the Blues (BTB) is a single-blind parallel randomized trial to assess efficacy of a non-pharmacological intervention to reduce depressive symptoms and improve quality of life in 208 African Americans 55+ years old. It involves a collaboration with a senior center whose care management staff screen for depressive symptoms (telephone or in-person) using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). Individuals screened positive (PHQ-9 ≥ 5) on two separate occasions over 2 weeks are referred to local mental health resources and BTB. Interested and eligible participants who consent receive a baseline home interview and then are randomly assigned to receive BTB immediately or 4 months later (wait-list control). All participants are interviewed at 4 (main study endpoint) and 8 months at home by assessors masked to study assignment. Licensed senior center social workers trained in BTB meet with participants at home for up to 10 sessions over 4 months to assess care needs, make referrals/linkages, provide depression education, instruct in stress reduction techniques, and use behavioral activation to identify goals and steps to achieve them. Key outcomes include reduced depressive symptoms (primary), reduced anxiety and functional disability, improved quality of life, and enhanced depression knowledge and behavioral activation (secondary). Fidelity is enhanced through procedure manuals and staff training and monitored by face-to-face supervision and review of taped sessions. Cost and cost effectiveness is being evaluated.
BTB is designed to bridge gaps in mental health service access and treatments for older African Americans. Treatment components are tailored to specific care needs, depression knowledge, preference for stress reduction techniques, and personal activity goals. Total costs are $584.64/4 months; or $146.16 per participant/per month.
Trial Registration #NCT00511680
PMCID: PMC3293778  PMID: 22325065
12.  Identification of and Beliefs about Depressive Symptoms and Preferred Treatment Approaches Among Community-living Older African Americans 
To examine older African American’s recognition of and beliefs about depressive symptoms, preferred symptom management strategies, and factors associated with willingness to use mental health treatments. Differences between depressed and non-depressed and men and women were examined.
Cross-sectional survey.
Home, senior center.
153 senior center members (56=males, 97=females) ≥55 years.
Using a depression vignette, participants indicated if the person was depressed and their endorsement of items reflecting beliefs, stigma, symptom management, and willingness to use treatments (yes/no). PHQ-9 assessed current symptomatology.
Overall, 24.2% reported depressive symptoms (≥5); 88.2% correctly identified the person in the vignette as depressed. Most (≥75%) endorsed active symptom management strategies, preference for treatment in physician and therapist offices, and willingness to take medications, seek therapy, see doctor and attend support groups; <33% viewed depression as stigmatizing whereas 48% viewed depression as normal aging. Logistic regressions revealed lower education, higher physical function and feeling okay if community knew of depression diagnosis were associated with willingness to see physician if feeling depressed; being married and believing anti-depressant medications are beneficial were related to willingness to use medications. Different associations emerged for depressed/non-depressed and men and women.
Overall, this older African American sample had positive attitudes and beliefs and endorsed traditional treatment modalities suggesting that beliefs alone are unlikely barriers to underutilization of mental health services. As different factors were associated with willingness to seek physician help and use medications and factors differed for depressed/non-depressed and by sex, interventions should be tailored.
PMCID: PMC4030409  PMID: 22643600
Depression; health disparities; depression beliefs
Introduction and Purpose
Abdominal obesity, the central distribution of adipose tissue, is a well established cardiometabolic disease risk factor. The prevalence has steadily increased since 1988, and now more than 50% of adults have abdominal obesity. Psychological distress coupled with increased dietary energy density (ED) may contribute to abdominal obesity. Guided by the stress and coping model, this study examined the relationship between psychological factors (perceived stress and depressive symptoms) and dietary ED in overweight, working adults. The first hypothesis tested if psychological factors explained a significant amount of food and beverage ED variance above that accounted for by demographic factors. The second hypothesis tested if psychological factors explained a significant amount of food and non-alcoholic beverage ED variance above that accounted for by demographic factors. Post hoc analyses compared macronutrient composition and food group pattern between overweight, working adults with and without depressive symptoms.
This descriptive, cross sectional, correlation study was comprised of 87 overweight, working adults; mean age, 41.3 (SD 10.2) years; mean body mass index (BMI), 32.1 (SD 6.1) kg/m2; 73.6% women; 50.6% African-American. Participants completed the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) and Perceived Stress Scale (PSS); weighed three day food record analyzed for caloric intake (kilocalories) and weight (grams) of consumed foods and beverages which were used to calculate ED (kilocalories/gram). Height and weight were measured to calculate BMI. Descriptive statistics, Mann-Whitney U and sequential regression modeling were used for data analysis.
Depressive symptoms were reported by 21.9% of participants, and explained variance in food and beverage ED above that accounted for by African-American race and reporting adequate caloric intake. Depressive symptoms explained variance in food and non-alcoholic beverage ED above that accounted for male gender, African-American race and reporting adequate caloric intake. Perceived stress and depressive symptoms were positively correlated; however, perceived stress was not a significant predictor of food and beverage ED.
Depressive symptoms, potentially modifiable, were four times that found in the general population, and independently predicted increased food and beverage ED. Further research is needed to determine if improvements in depressive symptoms alter dietary ED, potentially reducing cardiometabolic disease risk.
PMCID: PMC3086895  PMID: 20938248
Psychological distress; depressive symptoms; dietary energy density; overweight
14.  Intimate Partner Violence and Incident Depressive Symptoms and Suicide Attempts: A Systematic Review of Longitudinal Studies 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(5):e1001439.
Karen Devries and colleagues conduct a systematic review of longitudinal studies to evaluate the direction of association between symptoms of depression and intimate partner violence.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Depression and suicide are responsible for a substantial burden of disease globally. Evidence suggests that intimate partner violence (IPV) experience is associated with increased risk of depression, but also that people with mental disorders are at increased risk of violence. We aimed to investigate the extent to which IPV experience is associated with incident depression and suicide attempts, and vice versa, in both women and men.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies published before February 1, 2013. More than 22,000 records from 20 databases were searched for studies examining physical and/or sexual intimate partner or dating violence and symptoms of depression, diagnosed major depressive disorder, dysthymia, mild depression, or suicide attempts. Random effects meta-analyses were used to generate pooled odds ratios (ORs). Sixteen studies with 36,163 participants met our inclusion criteria. All studies included female participants; four studies also included male participants. Few controlled for key potential confounders other than demographics. All but one depression study measured only depressive symptoms. For women, there was clear evidence of an association between IPV and incident depressive symptoms, with 12 of 13 studies showing a positive direction of association and 11 reaching statistical significance; pooled OR from six studies = 1.97 (95% CI 1.56–2.48, I2 = 50.4%, pheterogeneity = 0.073). There was also evidence of an association in the reverse direction between depressive symptoms and incident IPV (pooled OR from four studies = 1.93, 95% CI 1.51–2.48, I2 = 0%, p = 0.481). IPV was also associated with incident suicide attempts. For men, evidence suggested that IPV was associated with incident depressive symptoms, but there was no clear evidence of an association between IPV and suicide attempts or depression and incident IPV.
In women, IPV was associated with incident depressive symptoms, and depressive symptoms with incident IPV. IPV was associated with incident suicide attempts. In men, few studies were conducted, but evidence suggested IPV was associated with incident depressive symptoms. There was no clear evidence of association with suicide attempts.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Depression and suicide are responsible for a substantial proportion of the global disease burden. Depression—an overwhelming feeling of sadness and hopelessness that can last for months or years—affects more than 350 million people worldwide. It is the eleventh leading cause of global disability-adjusted life-years (a measure of overall disease burden), and it affects one in six people at some time during their lives. Globally, about a million people commit suicide every year, usually because they have depression or some other mental illness. Notably, in cross-sectional studies (investigations that look at a population at a single time point), experience of intimate partner violence (IPV, also called domestic violence) is strongly and consistently associated with both depressive disorders and suicide. IPV, like depression and suicide, is extremely common—in multi-country studies, 15%–71% of women report being physically assaulted at some time during their lifetime. IPV is defined as physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse; men as well as women can be the victims of IPV.
Why Was This Study Done?
It may seem obvious to assume that IPV is causally related to subsequent depression and suicidal behavior. However, cross-sectional studies provide no information about causality, and it is possible that depression and/or suicide attempts cause subsequent IPV or that there are common risk factors for IPV, depression, and suicide. For example, individuals with depressive symptoms may be more accepting of partners with characteristics that predispose them to use violence, or early life exposure to violence may predispose individuals to both depression and choosing violent partners. Here, as part of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, the researchers investigate the extent to which experience of IPV is associated with subsequent depression and suicide attempts and vice versa in both men and women by undertaking a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies that have examined IPV, depression, and suicide attempts. A systematic review uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic, meta-analysis combines the results of several studies, and longitudinal studies track people over time to investigate associations between specific characteristics and outcomes.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 16 longitudinal studies involving a total of 36,163 participants that met their inclusion criteria. All the studies included women, but only four also included men. All the studies were undertaken in high- and middle-income countries. For women, 11 studies showed a statistically significant association (an association unlikely to have occurred by chance) between IPV and subsequent depressive symptoms. In a meta-analysis of six studies, experience of IPV nearly doubled the risk of women subsequently reporting depressive symptoms. In addition, there was evidence of an association in the reverse direction. In a meta-analysis of four studies, depressive symptoms nearly doubled the risk of women subsequently experiencing IPV. IPV was also associated with subsequent suicide attempts among women. For men, there was some evidence from two studies that IPV was associated with depressive symptoms but no evidence for an association between IPV and subsequent suicide attempt or between depressive symptoms and subsequent IPV.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that women who are exposed to IPV are at increased risk of subsequent depression and that women who are depressed are more likely to be at risk of IPV. They also provide evidence of an association between IPV and subsequent suicide attempt for women. The study provides little evidence for similar relationships among men, but additional studies are needed to confirm this finding. Moreover, the accuracy of these findings is likely to be affected by several limitations of the study. For example, few of the included studies controlled for other factors that might have affected both exposure to IPV and depressive symptoms, and none of the studies considered the effect of emotional violence on depressive symptoms and suicide attempts. Nevertheless, these findings have two important implications. First, they suggest that preventing violence against women has the potential to reduce the global burden of disease related to depression and suicide. Second, they suggest that clinicians should pay attention to past experiences of violence and the risk of future violence when treating women who present with symptoms of depression.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Alexander Tsai
The US National Institute of Mental Health provides information on all aspects of depression and of suicide and suicide prevention (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides detailed information about depression, including personal stories about depression, and information on suicide and its prevention; it has a webpage about domestic violence, which includes descriptions of personal experiences
The World Health Organization provides information on depression, on the global burden of suicide and on suicide prevention, and on intimate partner violence (some information in several languages)
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about depression, suicide, and domestic violence (in English and Spanish)
The charity Healthtalkonline has personal stories about depression and about dealing with suicide
PMCID: PMC3646718  PMID: 23671407
15.  Childhood and Adolescent Risk Factors for Comorbid Depression and Substance Use Disorders in Adulthood 
Addictive Behaviors  2012;37(11):1240-1247.
The comorbidity of major depression and substance use disorders is well documented. However, thorough understanding of prevalence and early risk factors for comorbidity in adulthood is lacking, particularly among urban African Americans. With data from the Woodlawn Study, which follows a community cohort of urban African Americans from ages 6 to 42, we identify the prevalence of comorbidity and childhood and adolescent risk factors of comorbid depression and substance use disorders, depression alone, and substance use disorders alone. Prevalence of comorbid substance use disorders and major depression in adulthood is 8.3% overall. Comorbidity in cohort men is twice that for women (11.1% vs. 5.7%). Adjusted multinomial regression models found few differences in risk factors for comorbidity compared to either major depression or a substance use disorder on its own. However, results do suggest distinct risk factors for depression without a substance use disorder in adulthood compared to a substance use disorder without depression in adulthood. In particular, low socioeconomic status and family conflict was related to increased risk of developing major depression in adulthood, while dropping out of high school was a statistically significant predictor of adult-onset substance use disorders. Early onset of marijuana use differentiated those with a substance use disorder with or without depression from those with depression without a substance use disorder in adjusted models. In conclusion, comorbid substance use disorders and depression are highly prevalent among these urban African Americans. Insight into the unique childhood and adolescent risk factors for depression compared to substance use disorders is critical to intervention development in urban communities. Results suggest that these programs must consider individual behaviors, as well as the early family dynamic.
PMCID: PMC3401336  PMID: 22762959
African American; Comorbidity; Longitudinal Data; Major Depression; Substance Use Disorders
American heart journal  2008;157(1):77-83.
To examine ethnic differences in depressive symptoms and antidepressant treatment in a cohort of patients undergoing diagnostic coronary angiography.
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of mortality in the US, with an excess of mortality in African Americans. Traditional risk factors occur more frequently among African Americans but do not fully account for this increased risk. Elevated depressive symptoms have been shown to be associated with higher morbidity and mortality in CHD patients.
A consecutive series of 864 patients (727 Caucasians, 137 African Americans) completed the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) to assess depressive symptoms. Data describing cardiovascular risk factors and type of medications including antidepressants were obtained from chart review at the time of study enrollment.
There was no difference in the severity of depressive symptoms between Caucasians (p =.50); the prevalence of elevated depressive symptoms also was similar for African Americans (35%) and Caucasians (27%) (p =.20). However, the rate of antidepressant use was 21% for Caucasians but only 11.7% for African Americans (p =.016). The odds ratio for ethnicity (African American vs. Caucasian) in predicting antidepressant use was 0.43 (95% CI=0.24–0.76, p=0.004) after adjustment for BDI scores.
African Americans with CHD are less likely to be treated with anti-depressant medications compared to Caucasians, despite having similar levels of depression. The ethnic differences in the psychopharmacological management of depression suggests that more careful assessment of depression, especially in African Americans, is necessary to optimize care of patients with CHD.
PMCID: PMC2626410  PMID: 19081400
African-Americans; depression; coronary disease; ethnicity
17.  Late-life Depression in Older African Americans: A Comprehensive Review of Epidemiological and Clinical Data 
The population of older African Americans is expected to triple by 2050, highlighting the public health importance of understanding their mental health needs. Despite evidence of the negative impact of late-life depression, less is known of how this disorder affects the lives of older African Americans. Lack of studies focusing on how depression presents in older African Americans and their subsequent treatment needs lead to a gap in epidemiologic and clinical knowledge for this population. In this review, we aim to present a concise report of prevalence, correlates, course, outcomes, symptom recognition, and treatment of depression for these individuals.
We performed a literature review of English-language articles identified from PubMed and Medline published between January 1990 and June 2012. Studies included older adults and contained the key words “geriatric depression in African Americans,” “geriatric depression in Blacks,” and geriatric depression in minorities.”
Although in most studies older African Americans had higher or equivalence prevalence of depression compared to Caucasian Americans, we also found lower rates of recognition of depression and treatment. Many studies reported worse outcomes associated for depression among older African Americans compared older Caucasians.
Serious racial and ethnic disparities persist in the management of older African Americans with depression. Understanding their unmet needs and improving depression care for these individuals is necessary to reduce these disparities.
PMCID: PMC3674152  PMID: 23225736
Late-life Depression; Race; African Americans
18.  The Effect of Religious Service Attendance on Race Differences in Depression: Findings from the EHDIC-SWB Study 
In the EHDIC-SWB study, African-Americans are less likely to have depression than non-Hispanic whites. Religious service attendance is one possible explanation because studies have shown an inverse relationship between religious service attendance and depression. We examined the relationship between race, religious service attendance, and depression in 835 African-American and 573 non-Hispanic white adults aged 18 and older in the Exploring Health Disparities in Integrated Communities-Southwest Baltimore (EHDIC-SWB) study. Religious service attendance was measured according to participants’ response to “how often do you attend religious services?” Depression was measured using the Patient Health Questionnaire. African-Americans attended religious services more frequently than non-Hispanic whites, and had a lower percentage of depression (10.1% vs. 15.4%; p-value <0.05). After adjusting for the demographic variables and health-related characteristics, African-Americans displayed lower odds of having depression (OR = 0.68, 95% CI: 0.47–0.97) compared to non-Hispanic whites. However, when including religious service attendance in the model, we found race differences in depression (OR = 0.76, 95% CI: 0.52–1.11) were no longer significant. We concluded that among individuals living in a low-income, integrated urban environment, race disparities in depression were eliminated after accounting for race differences in religious service attendance. This suggests religious service attendance may serve as a protective factor against depression for African-Americans.
PMCID: PMC3368045  PMID: 22322331
Religious service attendance; Race; Depression
19.  Perceptions of Support Among Older African American Cancer Survivors 
Oncology nursing forum  2010;37(4):484-493.
To explore the perceived social support needs among older adult African American cancer survivors.
Research Approach
Qualitative design using grounded theory techniques.
Outpatient oncology clinics in the southeastern United States.
Focus groups with 22 older adult African American cancer survivors.
Methodologic Approach
Purposeful sampling technique was used to identify focus group participants. In-depth interviews were conducted and participants were interviewed until informational redundancy was achieved.
Main Research Variables
Social support needs of older adult African American patients with cancer.
Social support was influenced by (a) symptoms and treatment side effects, (b) perceptions of stigma and fears expressed by family and friends, (c) cultural beliefs about cancer, and (d) desires to lessen any burden or disruption to the lives of family and friends. Survivors navigated within and outside of their networks to get their social support needs met. In some instances, survivors socially withdrew from traditional sources of support for fear of being ostracized. Survivors also described feeling hurt, alone, and socially isolated when completely abandoned by friends.
The support from family, friends, and fellow church members is important to positive outcomes among older African American cancer survivors. However, misconceptions, fears, and negative cultural beliefs persist within the African American community and negatively influence the social support available to this population.
Early identification of the factors that influence social support can facilitate strategies to improve outcomes and decrease health disparities among this population.
PMCID: PMC2948788  PMID: 20591808
20.  Predictors of urinary incontinence in community-dwelling frail older adults with diabetes mellitus in a cross-sectional study 
BMC Geriatrics  2014;14(1):137.
Diabetes mellitus is a potent risk factor for urinary incontinence. Previous studies of incontinence in patients with diabetes have focused on younger, healthier patients. Our objective was to characterize risk factors for urinary incontinence among frail older adults with diabetes mellitus in a real-world clinical setting.
We performed a cross-sectional analysis on enrollees at On Lok (the original Program for All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly) between October 2004 and December 2010. Enrollees were community-dwelling, nursing home-eligible older adults with diabetes mellitus (N = 447). Our outcome was urinary incontinence measures (n = 2602) assessed every 6 months as “never incontinent”, “seldom incontinent” (occurring less than once per week), or “often incontinent” (occurring more than once per week). Urinary incontinence was dichotomized (“never” versus “seldom” and “often” incontinent). We performed multivariate mixed effects logistic regression analysis with demographic (age, gender and ethnicity), geriatric (dependence on others for ambulation or transferring; cognitive impairment), diabetes-related factors (hemoglobin A1c level; use of insulin and other glucose-lowering medications; presence of renal, ophthalmologic, neurological and peripheral vascular complications), depressive symptoms and diuretic use.
The majority of participants were 75 years or older (72%), Asian (65%) and female (66%). Demographic factors independently associated with incontinence included older age (OR for age >85, 3.13, 95% CI: 2.15-4.56; Reference: Age <75) and African American or other race (OR 2.12, 95% CI: 1.14-3.93; Reference: Asian). Geriatric factors included: dependence on others for ambulation (OR 1.48, 95% CI: 1.19-1.84) and transferring (OR 2.02, 95% CI: 1.58-2.58) and being cognitively impaired (OR 1.41, 95% CI: 1.15-1.73). Diabetes-related factors associated included use of insulin (OR 2.62, 95% CI: 1.67-4.13) and oral glucose-lowering agents (OR 1.81, 95% CI: 1.33-2.45). Urinary incontinence was not associated with gender, hemoglobin A1c level or depressive symptoms.
Geriatric factors such as the inability to ambulate or transfer independently are important predictors of urinary incontinence among frail older adults with diabetes mellitus. Clinicians should address mobility and cognitive impairment as much as diabetes-related factors in their assessment of urinary incontinence in this population.
PMCID: PMC4274753  PMID: 25514968
Urinary incontinence; Frail older adults; Diabetes mellitus
21.  Ethnic differences in satisfaction and quality of life in veterans with ischemic heart disease. 
OBJECTIVE: To assess differences in self-reported health status and satisfaction between African-American and caucasian veterans with ischemic heart disease (IHD). DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING: African-American and caucasian patients enrolled in General Internal Medicine clinics at six Veteran Affairs Medical Centers. STUDY DESIGN: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of baseline survey data from the Ambulatory Care Quality Improvement Project (ACQUIP). Patients who responded to an initial health-screening questionnaire were sent follow-up surveys, which included the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Health Survey (SF-36), the Seattle Outpatient Satisfaction Questionnaire (SOSQ), and the Seattle Angina Questionnaire (SAQ). PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Of the 44,965 patients approached, 27,977 (62%) returned the baseline survey, of which 10,385 patients reported IHD and were sent the SAQ. Of those, 7,985 patients (84% caucasian, 16% African-American) responded. Caucasian respondents tended to be older, married, nonsmokers, with annual incomes over dollar 10,000, and had higher educational attainment than African Americans. African-American patients reported significantly fewer cardiac procedures (33% vs. 52%, p < 0.001) but were more likely to have diabetes (37% vs. 28%, p < 0.001) and hypertension (81% vs. 68%, p < 0.001). After adjustment for demographic characteristics, comorbid conditions, clinic site, and site-ethnicity interactions, SF-36 scores for physical function, role physical, bodily pain, and vitality were greater for African Americans than caucasians, while adjusted scores were significantly lower for role emotional. However, because of the site-ethnicity interaction, scores varied significantly by site. For the SAQ, overall adjusted physical function summary scores and disease stability scores were significantly greater for African Americans than caucasians. Adjusted summary satisfaction scores for provider satisfaction were not significantly lower for African Americans overall but were significant at two of six sites. Similarly, on the SAQ, adjusted treatment satisfaction scores were significantly lower for African Americans at half of the sites and minimally but not clinically significant overall. CONCLUSIONS: Despite a higher prevalence of cardiac risk factors, African-American patients with CAD who were treated in the VA system appeared to have a greater level of physical functioning, vitality, and angina stability. After adjustment for confounding demographic variables, however, these differences were not consistently significant at all geographic locations. This suggests that many other sociodemographic variables, in addition to ethnicity, influence apparent discrepancies in quality of life, satisfaction, and angina.
PMCID: PMC2568363  PMID: 15233490
22.  Lung Cancer Occurrence in Never-Smokers: An Analysis of 13 Cohorts and 22 Cancer Registry Studies  
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(9):e185.
Better information on lung cancer occurrence in lifelong nonsmokers is needed to understand gender and racial disparities and to examine how factors other than active smoking influence risk in different time periods and geographic regions.
Methods and Findings
We pooled information on lung cancer incidence and/or death rates among self-reported never-smokers from 13 large cohort studies, representing over 630,000 and 1.8 million persons for incidence and mortality, respectively. We also abstracted population-based data for women from 22 cancer registries and ten countries in time periods and geographic regions where few women smoked. Our main findings were: (1) Men had higher death rates from lung cancer than women in all age and racial groups studied; (2) male and female incidence rates were similar when standardized across all ages 40+ y, albeit with some variation by age; (3) African Americans and Asians living in Korea and Japan (but not in the US) had higher death rates from lung cancer than individuals of European descent; (4) no temporal trends were seen when comparing incidence and death rates among US women age 40–69 y during the 1930s to contemporary populations where few women smoke, or in temporal comparisons of never-smokers in two large American Cancer Society cohorts from 1959 to 2004; and (5) lung cancer incidence rates were higher and more variable among women in East Asia than in other geographic areas with low female smoking.
These comprehensive analyses support claims that the death rate from lung cancer among never-smokers is higher in men than in women, and in African Americans and Asians residing in Asia than in individuals of European descent, but contradict assertions that risk is increasing or that women have a higher incidence rate than men. Further research is needed on the high and variable lung cancer rates among women in Pacific Rim countries.
Michael Thun and colleagues pooled and analyzed comprehensive data on lung cancer incidence and death rates among never-smokers to examine what factors other than active smoking affect lung cancer risk.
Editors' Summary
Every year, more than 1.4 million people die from lung cancer, a leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. In the US alone, more than 161,000 people will die from lung cancer this year. Like all cancers, lung cancer occurs when cells begin to divide uncontrollably because of changes in their genes. The main trigger for these changes in lung cancer is exposure to the chemicals in cigarette smoke—either directly through smoking cigarettes or indirectly through exposure to secondhand smoke. Eighty-five to 90% of lung cancer deaths are caused by exposure to cigarette smoke and, on average, current smokers are 15 times more likely to die from lung cancer than lifelong nonsmokers (never smokers). Furthermore, a person's cumulative lifetime risk of developing lung cancer is related to how much they smoke, to how many years they are a smoker, and—if they give up smoking—to the age at which they stop smoking.
Why Was This Study Done?
Because lung cancer is so common, even the small fraction of lung cancer that occurs in lifelong nonsmokers represents a large number of people. For example, about 20,000 of this year's US lung cancer deaths will be in never-smokers. However, very little is known about how age, sex, or race affects the incidence (the annual number of new cases of diseases in a population) or death rates from lung cancer among never-smokers. A better understanding of the patterns of lung cancer incidence and death rates among never-smokers could provide useful information about the factors other than cigarette smoke that increase the likelihood of not only never-smokers, but also former smokers and current smokers developing lung cancer. In this study, therefore, the researchers pooled and analyzed a large amount of information about lung cancer incidence and death rates among never smokers to examine what factors other than active smoking affect lung cancer risk.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers analyzed information on lung cancer incidence and/or death rates among nearly 2.5 million self-reported never smokers (men and women) from 13 large studies investigating the health of people in North America, Europe, and Asia. They also analyzed similar information for women taken from cancer registries in ten countries at times when very few women were smokers (for example, the US in the late 1930s). The researchers' detailed statistical analyses reveal, for example, that lung cancer death rates in African Americans and in Asians living in Korea and Japan (but not among Asians living in the US) are higher than those in people of the European continental ancestry group. They also show that men have higher death rates from lung cancer than women irrespective of racial group, but that women aged 40–59 years have a slightly higher incidence of lung cancer than men of a similar age. This difference disappears at older ages. Finally, an analysis of lung cancer incidence and death rates at different times during the past 70 years shows no evidence of an increase in the lung cancer burden among never smokers over time.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Although some of the findings described above have been hinted at in previous, smaller studies, these and other findings provide a much more accurate picture of lung cancer incidence and death rates among never smokers. Most importantly the underlying data used in these analyses are now freely available and should provide an excellent resource for future studies of lung cancer in never smokers.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Cancer Institute provides detailed information for patients and health professionals about all aspects of lung cancer and information on smoking and cancer (in English and Spanish)
Links to other US-based resources dealing with lung cancer are provided by MedlinePlus (in English and Spanish)
Cancer Research UK provides key facts about the link between lung cancer and smoking and information about all other aspects of lung cancer
PMCID: PMC2531137  PMID: 18788891
23.  African-American males and prostate cancer: assessing knowledge levels in the community. 
Although the available evidence indicates that African-American males are at risk for developing prostate cancer, little is known about the level of awareness among African Americans about prostate cancer or how receptive they are to screening. This study examined the level of knowledge African-American males have about prostate cancer and the factors affecting knowledge levels. Face-to-face interviews were conducted among a sample of African-American males older than 25 years. All respondents were asked if they knew what prostate cancer was (N = 897), and those older than age 40 (N = 556) answered a series of seven questions related to prostate cancer. An index was created that reflected respondents level of knowledge about prostate cancer. Slightly more than 19% of the sample scored relatively high on the index related to prostate cancer knowledge, but 30% answered three or fewer questions correctly. Income, marital status, education, and type of insurance were significantly related to a respondent's level of knowledge. Having a regular physician and discussing prostate screening with a physician were both positively related to a respondent's level of understanding. This study indicates that African-American men do not have adequate knowledge about prostate cancer. Although many African Americans may be getting the prostate cancer message, educational efforts need to be strengthened to reach the less affluent and the less educated. These findings also raise questions about why more African-American men are not being screened and why more primary care physicians are not discussing prostate cancer with their African-American patients.
PMCID: PMC2608154  PMID: 9195798
24.  Mental Health Treatment Seeking Among Older Adults with Depression: The Impact of Stigma and Race 
Stigma associated with mental illness continues to be a significant barrier to help seeking, leading to negative attitudes about mental health treatment and deterring individuals who need services from seeking care. This study examined the impact of public stigma (negative attitudes held by the public) and internalized stigma (negative attitudes held by stigmatized individuals about themselves) on racial differences in treatment seeking attitudes and behaviors among older adults with depression.
Random digit dialing was utilized to identify a representative sample of 248 African American and White adults older adults (over the age of 60) with depression (symptoms assessed via the Patient Health Questionnaire-9). Telephone based surveys were conducted to assess their treatment seeking attitudes and behaviors, and the factors that impacted these behaviors.
Depressed older adult participants endorsed a high level of public stigma and were not likely to be currently engaged in, nor did they intend to seek mental health treatment. Results also suggested that African American older adults were more likely to internalize stigma and endorsed less positive attitudes toward seeking mental health treatment than their White counterparts. Multiple regression analysis indicated that internalized stigma partially mediated the relationship between race and attitudes toward treatment.
Stigma associated with having a mental illness has a negative influence on attitudes and intentions toward seeking mental health services among older adults with depression, particularly African American elders. Interventions to target internalized stigma are needed to help engage this population in psychosocial mental health treatments.
PMCID: PMC2875324  PMID: 20220602
Stigma; Depression; Treatment; Aging
25.  Discord of Measurements in Assessing Depression among African Americans with Cancer Diagnoses 
This study examined the level of agreement among the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D), Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II), and Observers’ Rating on assessing depression of African American adults with cancer.
75 breast and prostate cancer patients (57 African Americans and 18Whites) were interviewed and administered the depression measures. Nonparametric tests were performed to examine the level of measurement agreement by group and the symptom items of CES-D, HAM-D and BDI-II to which African American patients responded differently across measures.
The four measures showed agreement on approximately 75% of the cases in both racial groups. However, the difference between measures in identifying depressive cases is marked. The item analysis indicated that most measurement disagreements about African American patients occurred on two items: self-report of depression and sleeping disturbance.
Measurement discord may be explained by African American’s reporting behavior that varies from a self-reported measure to an interviewer-administrated measure of depression. African American patients showed a reluctance to use the word “depression” and a tendency to report sleep disturbance. The findings suggest that accurately assessing depression in these patients requires a consideration of their culturally shaped life experiences.
PMCID: PMC3652478  PMID: 23682296

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