African American women prone to stress

Nov. 4, 2009 at 5:55 PM
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NEW YORK, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Racial discrimination threatens the mental health of black women in the United States and leaves them susceptible to depression, a study says.

"Our results show that perceptions of unfair treatment, like other chronic stressors, are psychologically burdensome to African American women," Dr. Verna Keith of Florida State University said.

She reported the relationship between depressive symptoms and perceived discrimination in a study published Oct. 15 in Sex Roles, an online research journal.

Discrimination damages African American women's feelings of being in control of their own lives and makes them psychologically less resilient, Keith said.

A national survey of 2,300 adult black women showed that those who saw themselves able to exercise some control over circumstances reported less depression than those who said day-to-day discrimination undermined that ability, the study said.

Age and education levels were examined in the study, with older women and more educated women reporting fewer symptoms of depression, Keith said.

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