The Demographics of Black Male Depression

A new study tells what kind of African-American man is most likely to be depressed.

Posted: 06/13/2011 07:28 AM EDT

A new report says that demographic factors significantly impact the mental health of Black men. This information will be helpful not only to better understand the African-American community, but also to better understand how to offer treatment to the many Black men who are in dire need of professional mental help. (Related: Black Men Who Suffer Bias Also Suffer From Depression)

 

According to new research out of the University of Michigan, older African-American men were notably less depressed and less afflicted with psychological distress than younger men. Beyond that—and this one seems obvious—the wealthier a man was the less likely he was to be racked with major depressive disorders. Married men and men living in the South were also less depressed. The research team gathered its data from interviews with more than 1,200 Black men for the project “National Survey of American Life: Coping With Stress in the 21st Century.”

 

Perhaps surprising, the stress survey showed how relatively stable Black men were when compared to non-Hispanic whites. One might imagine that the prejudices Blacks encounter throughout America would lead them to be depressed far more than their white counterparts. Not so, according to the data. Only three percent of Black men acknowledged serious psychological distress, and just six percent had significant levels of depressive symptoms. These rates are “relatively low compared to non-Hispanic whites,” says a release from Michigan.

 

African-Americans are frequently called out—in Black media circles at least—for the community’s unwillingness to address mental health woes. Understanding that these woes exist, thanks to all kinds of emerging studies, is one of the first keys to destroying the taboos.

(Photo: MARIO ANZUONI/Reuters /Landov)

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