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Children 2017, 4(2), 14; doi:10.3390/children4020014

Neighborhood Safety and Major Depressive Disorder in a National Sample of Black Youth; Gender by Ethnic Differences

1
Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Michigan, 4250 Plymouth Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
2
Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, 1415 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
3
Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, 1415 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Sari A. Acra
Received: 1 February 2017 / Revised: 13 February 2017 / Accepted: 15 February 2017 / Published: 23 February 2017
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [258 KB, uploaded 23 February 2017]

Abstract

Adolescence is a developmental period marked by increased stress, especially among Black youth. In addition to stress related to their developmental transition, social factors such as a perceived unsafe neighborhood impose additional risks. We examined gender and ethnic differences in the association between perceived neighborhood safety and major depressive disorder (MDD) among a national sample of Black youth. We used data from the National Survey of American Life - Adolescents (NSAL-A), 2003–2004. In total, 1170 Black adolescents entered the study. This number was composed of 810 African American and 360 Caribbean Black youth (age 13 to 17). Demographic factors, perceived neighborhood safety, and MDD (Composite International Diagnostic Interview, CIDI) were measured. Logistic regressions were used to test the association between neighborhood safety and MDD in the pooled sample, as well as based on ethnicity by gender groups. In the pooled sample of Black youth, those who perceived their neighborhoods to be unsafe were at higher risk of MDD (Odds Ratio [OR] = 1.25; 95% Confidence Interval [CI] = 1.02-1.51). The perception that one’s neighborhood is unsafe was associated with a higher risk of MDD among African American males (OR=1.41; 95% CI = 1.03–1.93) but not African American females or Caribbean Black males and females. In conclusion, perceived neighborhood safety is not a universal psychological determinant of MDD across ethnic by gender groups of Black youth; however, policies and programs that enhance the sense of neighborhood safety may prevent MDD in male African American youth. View Full-Text
Keywords: neighborhood; depression; Blacks; African Americans; gender; ethnicity neighborhood; depression; Blacks; African Americans; gender; ethnicity
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Assari, S.; Caldwell, C.H. Neighborhood Safety and Major Depressive Disorder in a National Sample of Black Youth; Gender by Ethnic Differences. Children 2017, 4, 14.

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