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Healthcare 2018, 6(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare6010006

Age and Gender Differences in Psychological Distress among African Americans and Whites: Findings from the 2016 National Health Interview Survey

1
School of Social Work, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
2
School of Social Work and Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 December 2017 / Revised: 10 January 2018 / Accepted: 11 January 2018 / Published: 17 January 2018
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Abstract

Previous studies report a race and mental health paradox: Whites score higher on measures of major depression compared to African Americans, but the opposite is true for psychological distress (i.e., African Americans score higher on distress measures compared to Whites). Independently, race, age, and gender outcomes for psychological distress are well documented in the literature. However, there is relatively little research on how psychological distress interferes with the lives of African Americans and Whites at the intersection of their various race, age, and gender identities. This study uses data from the 2016 National Health Interview Survey to examine age and gender differences in psychological distress and how much psychological distress interferes with the lives of African Americans and Whites. Our study findings are contrary to the paradox such that young White women (M = 3.36, SD = 1.14) and middle-aged White men (M = 2.55, SD = 3.97) experienced higher psychological distress than all other race, age, and gender groups. Psychological distress interference was relatively high among the high distress groups, except for older African American men (M = 1.73, SD = 1.05) and young African American women (M = 1.93, SD = 0.95). Implications for studies that consider cultural experiences of psychological distress, and how it impacts different demographic groups are discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: African Americans; age; gender; race; psychological distress; Whites African Americans; age; gender; race; psychological distress; Whites
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Watkins, D.C.; Johnson, N.C. Age and Gender Differences in Psychological Distress among African Americans and Whites: Findings from the 2016 National Health Interview Survey. Healthcare 2018, 6, 6.

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