Patterns of social affiliation as predictors of depressive symptoms among urban blacks

J Health Soc Behav. 1992 Sep;33(3):242-53.


This paper focuses on patterns of social affiliation viewed historically as sociocultural adaptations to stresses associated with minority group status. Data are from a community-based sample of 927 Black adults residing in a large metropolitan area. Specifically, this analysis assesses the extent to which patterns of social affiliation such as close family ties, religious involvement, and participation in voluntary associations diminish the detrimental impact of chronic economic strain on the level of depressive symptoms. The findings provide no support for a sociocultural adaptation explanation. Moreover, the results show an unexpected relationship among religious involvement, chronic economic strain, and depressive symptoms. At the most intense levels of religious involvement, a significantly higher level of depressive symptomatology was evident among those experiencing chronic economic strain. In contrast, those with less religious involvement had fewer depressive symptoms when experiencing chronic economic strain. Implications of findings are discussed relative to social changes affecting patterns of affiliation and sociocultural adaptation in Black communities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Aged
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Inventory
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Identification*
  • Urban Population*
  • Virginia