An examination of the African American experience of everyday discrimination and symptoms of psychological distress

Community Ment Health J. 2006 Dec;42(6):555-70. doi: 10.1007/s10597-006-9052-9. Epub 2006 Aug 4.


Current theoretical models suggest that the most potent and impacting discrimination experienced by African Americans in the post Jim Crow era are subtle and unconscious forms of discrimination that are experienced on a daily basis. This study investigates the relationship between perceived everyday discrimination and anxiety and depressive symptoms. Further, we examine gender as a moderator of this relationship. Data come from the 1995 Detroit Area Study data with 570 African American respondents. Results indicate that perceived discrimination is directly related to both symptoms of depression and anxiety. Gender moderates the relationship between discrimination and anxiety symptoms, but not discrimination and depressive symptoms. Overall, different patterns of relationships were apparent for men and women.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology
  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Black People / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prejudice*
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Environment