Study: Black Men Who Suffer Bias Also Experience Depression

But when the same men feel in control of their lives, spirits lift.

Posted: 05/26/2011 07:03 AM EDT

The findings of a new University of Michigan report about Black men and depression, may evoke a I-knew-it-all-the-time response in readers. When African-American men, between 35 and 54, feel that they are facing discrimination they are depressed. When, by contrast, they feel in control of their lives the same individuals experience positive mental health attitudes that protect them from “depressive symptoms.”

 

The researchers say that the above cohort of African-American men find it particularly difficult to achieve a "perceived mastery” over their lives during this extended period of economic uncertainty, income inequality and high Black unemployment.

 

A group of 1,271 African-American men across three age groups 18 to 34, 35 to 54, and 55 and older was drawn upon for the study’s findings.

 

According to the study, African American men in middle adulthood are “more likely to encounter discrimination or unpleasant encounters in the workplace and social settings, which threatens their mental well-being.”

 

Interestingly the oldest group of Black men in the study, 55 and reported a plus/minus mix of “less discrimination but also less control over their lives and fewer depressive symptoms than men in the other groups.”  

 

The researchers did not apparently delve into the issue of how these older men may have passed the stage of direct competition with white males and members of other groups for jobs and economic security. That would slash feelings of discrimination while a potential loss in income in this economy contributes to depression.

 

The study's researchers were Daphne Watkins, U-M assistant professor of social work; Darrell Hudson, postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco; Cleopatra Howard Caldwell, U-M associate professor of public health; Kristine Siefert, U-M professor of social work; and James Jackson, director of the U-M Institute for Social Research.

(Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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