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.
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