Ethnic differences in depressive symptomatology among young women

Obstet Gynecol. 2000 Jan;95(1):55-60. doi: 10.1016/s0029-7844(99)00495-0.


Objective: To examine racial and ethnic differences in moderate to severe depressive symptoms among young women seeking reproductive health care.

Methods: Nine hundred four white, black, or Hispanic women between 14 and 26 years of age completed an anonymous questionnaire that assessed demographic and reproductive characteristics; recent substance use, including binge drinking; sexual behaviors; occurrence of assault; and depressive symptoms. Logistic regression analysis was used to develop adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals for correlates of depressive symptomatology for each racial or ethnic group.

Results: Twenty-one percent (68 of 321) of whites, 28% (88 of 316) of blacks, and 29% (77 of 267) of Hispanics reported moderate to severe depressive symptoms. White females with moderate to severe depressive symptoms were more likely to report sexual assault (OR = 3.1); being a high school dropout (OR = 2.6); unemployment (OR = 2.4); two or more episodes of binge drinking (OR = 2.1); and having a mother with less than a high school education (OR = 2.4). Black females with depressive symptoms were more likely to report smoking one to nine cigarettes per day (OR = 3.5); sexual assault (OR = 3.2); and unemployment (OR = 2.1). Hispanic females with depressive symptoms were more likely to report adolescent age (OR = 3.5); physical assault (OR = 3.2); and smoking one or more cigarettes per day (OR = 2.4).

Conclusion: Twenty to 25% of young women, regardless of race or ethnicity, have moderate to severe depressive symptoms, and behavioral markers vary according to ethnicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Depression / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Odds Ratio
  • Smoking
  • Texas / epidemiology