Neighborhood context, personality, and stressful life events as predictors of depression among African American women

J Abnorm Psychol. 2005 Feb;114(1):3-15. doi: 10.1037/0021-843X.114.1.3.


The authors tested neighborhood context, negative life events, and negative affectivity as predictors of the onset of major depression among 720 African American women. Neighborhood-level economic disadvantage (e.g., percentage of residents below the poverty line) and social disorder (e.g., delinquency, drug use) predicted the onset of major depression when controlling for individual-level demographic characteristics. Neighborhood-level disadvantage/disorder interacted with negative life events, such that women who experienced recent negative life events and lived in high disadvantage/disorder neighborhoods were more likely to become depressed than were those who lived in more benign settings, both concurrently and over a 2-year period. Neighborhood disadvantage/disorder can be viewed as a vulnerability factor that increases susceptibility to depression following the experience of negative life events.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / ethnology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Disorders / diagnosis
  • Personality Disorders / ethnology*
  • Personality Disorders / psychology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Sampling Studies
  • Social Behavior Disorders / epidemiology
  • Social Environment*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires