JOURNAL ARTICLE

Prevalence of mood disorders and service use among US mothers by race and ethnicity: results from the National Survey of American Life

Rhonda C Boyd, Sean Joe, Lynn Michalopoulos, Erica Davis, James S Jackson
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 2011, 72 (11): 1538-45
21903030

OBJECTIVE: To describe the rates of mood disorders, the social and demographic correlates of mood disorders, and mental health services utilization among African American, Caribbean black, and non-Hispanic white mothers.

METHOD: Study data were collected between February 2001 and June 2003 as part of the National Survey of American Life: Coping With Stress in the 21st Century. National household probability samples of African Americans and Caribbean blacks were surveyed using a slightly modified World Mental Health version of the World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Participants included 2,019 African American, 799 Caribbean black, and 400 non-Hispanic white mothers 18 years and older (N = 3,218). The main outcomes measured were lifetime and 12-month diagnoses of DSM-IV mood disorders (major depressive episode, dysthymic disorder, bipolar I and II disorders) and mental health services utilization.

RESULTS: The lifetime prevalence estimate of mood disorders is higher for white mothers (21.67%) than for African American mothers (16.77%) and Caribbean black mothers (16.42%); however, 12-month mood disorder estimates are similar across groups. African American mothers have higher 12-month prevalence estimates of bipolar disorder (2.48%) than white mothers (0.59%) and Caribbean black mothers (1.16%). African American mothers with higher education levels and white mothers who became parents as teenagers are more likely to have a lifetime mood disorder. Less than half (45.8%) of black mothers with a past 12-month mood disorder diagnosis utilized mental health services. Among black mothers with a 12-month diagnosis of bipolar disorder, Caribbean blacks utilized mental health services at higher rates than African Americans.

CONCLUSIONS: Demographic correlates for mood disorders varied by race and ethnicity. The findings illustrated underutilization of treatment by black mothers, especially African American mothers with bipolar disorder.

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