Depression drops off in young white women

April 19, 2006 at 5:20 PM
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CHICAGO, April 19 (UPI) -- The depression rate in white women ages 16 to 23 drops over time but remains steady in African-American women the same age, says a U.S. study.

In a study involving more than 2,000 women, Northeastern University researchers found that young white women become less depressed as they age, while young black women continue feeling the same.

"We believe that issues like access to proper care, the stigma of mental health problems and insurance status may be contributing factors to African-American girls suffering from depression being less likely to receive the necessary treatment," says Debra L. Franko, professor of counseling and applied psychology. "This is clearly an area that needs to be investigated further."

Franko suspects the way young black and white women view their bodies may also contribute to the difference in depression rates between the two groups.

Young Caucasian teenagers tend to be unhappy with their bodies and many show symptoms of depression as a result. As they get older, they become more satisfied with their shapes and sizes and the level of depression decreases, according to Franko.

The study was published in a recent issue of Journal of Adolescent Health.

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