National Institute on Aging

Affluent Black Youth Are More Likely to Be Depressed Than Lower-Income Black Youth

A new study by researchers at the University of Michigan found that Black youths between 13 and 17 years of age from affluent families were more likely to suffer from depression that Black youth from lower socioeconomic groups. Furthermore, the reason that Black youth from affluent families were more likely to suffer from depression, according to the study, was that they were more likely to experience racial discrimination than Black youth from families with lower incomes.

Shervin Assari, a research assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan School of Medicine and the lead author of the papers notes that the higher rates of depression among Black youth could be a response to many societal situations. One situation could be wealthy Black families living in predominantly white neighborhoods, which could lead to higher rates of discrimination and depression. He also suggests that the distance these Black families have from other Black communities could result in a lack of an emotional support group and mental health resources.

The study, “Subjective Socioeconomic Status Moderates the Association between Discrimination and Depression in African American Youth,” was published in the journal Brain Sciences. It may be accessed here.


Comments (7)

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  1. Vlad says:

    This may play a role in upper middle class men being unable to replicate that status due to descrimination and isolation. Furthermore, Black boys are more likely to experience discrimination. It would be interesting to investigate and find a link.

    • David B. says:

      It’s strange but the upper middle black population is more likely to come from the lower SES communities, than upper middle class blacks. Then, once they become upper middle class, their kids cycle back down the ladder.

      • Vlad says:

        This is a strange phenomenon. I once met a black male who was raised in a town that would be considered upper middle -class in a 2 parent family. The revelation surprised me after seeing he now works as a regular mailman carrier.

        Children of affluent SES should be shielded from overt discrimination, but I wager not subtle the microagressions they may get from presence in predominately white spaces. My guess middle class black families are probably not reinforcing middle class values to their children, thus causing the down hill slop back to low SES status.

        • Ed says:

          “Children of affluent SES should be shielded from overt discrimination…”
          Why would they be?

          • Vlad says:

            Because their middle-class standing is a buffer to many of the common issue that lower SES African Americans face. However, subtle microagressions maybe a problem for high SES blacks.

  2. DoQ says:

    When African Americans were constantly exposed to micro and macroaggressions, and a had a low SES, they were more resilient. Now, upper SES children are shielded from the many aggressions and consequently have lost their ability and will to be strong. With the higher SES comes with it higher expectations of success and more opportunities to not succeed. The inability to survive coupled with being unable to achieve the expectations due to the systemic racism has lead to an increase in depression.

  3. Joseph A. Bailey II MD says:

    Extreme Despair, Depression characterized all Enslaved Africans and these patterns were both culturally transmitted and inherited epi-genetically to serve as the Static Background of today’s descendants. Such has been reinforced by those Black females who contribute the Fragile Black Baby Syndrome. See Theievoice

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