Gender Differences in Longitudinal Links between Neighborhood Fear, Parental Support, and Depression among African American Emerging Adults

Societies (Basel). 2015 Mar;5(1):151-170. doi: 10.3390/soc5010151. Epub 2015 Mar 16.


The transition to adulthood is a developmental period marked by increased stress, especially among African Americans. In addition to stress related to emerging adulthood, neighborhood fear may contribute to depressive symptoms for African Americans. We examined gender differences in longitudinal associations between changes in perceived neighborhood fear, parental support, and depressive symptoms among African American youth who were in transition to adulthood. Five hundred and thirteen African American youths (235 males and 278 females) were included in the study. An increase in perceived neighborhood fear was associated with an increase in depressive symptoms and change in perceived maternal support was predictive of depressive symptoms among males, but not females. The findings suggest that policies and programs should help parents provide support to young adult children who live in violent neighborhoods as a strategy to prevent depressive symptoms during emerging adulthood.

Keywords: African Americans; depression; emerging adulthood; gender; parenting; violence.