Demographic correlates of DSM-IV major depressive disorder among older African Americans, Black Caribbeans, and non-Hispanic Whites: results from the National Survey of American Life

María P Aranda, David H Chae, Karen D Lincoln, Robert Joseph Taylor, Amanda Toler Woodward, Linda M Chatters
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 2012, 27 (9): 940-7

OBJECTIVES: To examine the demographic correlates of lifetime and 12-month prevalence of major depressive disorder (MDD) among older African Americans, Black Caribbeans, and non-Hispanic Whites.

METHODS: Data are from adults aged 55 years and older (n = 1439) recruited to the National Survey of American Life (NSAL; 2001-2003). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Version IV World Mental Health Composite International Diagnostic Interview was used to assess the 12-month and lifetime MDD. Weighted logistic regression was used to model demographic correlates of MDD.

RESULTS: The population prevalence of lifetime and 12-month MDD were 11.2% and 4.1%, respectively. Bivariate analyses revealed that younger respondents and those with greater disability had a higher prevalence of both lifetime and 12-month MDD compared with those who were older and who had lower disability. Multivariable logistic regressions controlling for demographic characteristics revealed that non-Hispanic Whites had the greatest odds of lifetime MDD (OR = 2.27, 95% CI = 1.32, 3.93). Women had significantly greater odds of lifetime MDD compared with men (OR = 2.49, 95% CI = 1.14, 5.41); there were no gender differences in 12-month MDD. Other significant predictors of MDD were marital status and region of residence.

CONCLUSIONS: The distribution, correlates, and nature of associations with MDD vary as a function of whether we examined lifetime vs. 12-month MDD. Future work should account for within group differences among older adults with depression. Understanding MDD correlates and the nature of intergroup diversity can inform the identification of particularly vulnerable subgroups as well as appropriate treatment approaches.

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