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Symptoms of depression and their management among low-income African-American and White mothers in the rural South

Symptoms of depression and their management among low-income African-American and White mothers in the rural South

Ethnicity & Health 20(3): 293-308

This study examines experiences of depressive symptoms among a group of 32 low-income, African-American and White mothers of young children who resided in rural Eastern North Carolina, USA. Women's experiences of depressive symptoms were elicited through a series of longitudinal ethnographic interviews, including an explanatory models interview specifically designed to elicit their beliefs about the causes, symptomatology and help-seeking behavior and management of depressive symptoms. A content analysis of interview data indicated that most women (11 African-Americans and 15 Whites) reported having depressive symptoms currently or in the past. Both African-American and White women perceived the main causes of these symptoms as being relationship problems with a spouse, a partner, or a family member; lack of finances; and parenting stresses. There were no differences in the depressive symptoms African-American and White women reported, but there were differences in how they managed these symptoms and where they sought help. Most of the African-American women sought no formal treatment (i.e., pharmacotherapy and/or psychotherapy), but instead turned to their religious faith to deal with their feelings. White women were more likely to seek formal treatment. These findings provide insights into the ways in which women in one nonurban area in the USA explained and experienced depressive symptoms and demonstrate differences in help-seeking behaviors that can be linked to beliefs about depression and perceptions of societal responses to those who have it, as well as to perceptions of and experiences with the health-care system. Results have implications for the implementation of education, intervention, and treatment programs in more culturally sensitive ways.

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Accession: 056055934

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 24892732

DOI: 10.1080/13557858.2014.921889

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