Discrimination Experiences and Depressive Symptoms among African Americans with Osteoarthritis Enrolled in a Pain Coping Skills Training Randomized Controlled Trial

J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2021;32(1):145-155. doi: 10.1353/hpu.2021.0014.


African Americans are more likely than members of other racial groups to report perceived discrimination in health care settings, and discrimination is linked to depression. Using data from a randomized controlled trial of pain coping skills training (PCST) for African Americans with osteoarthritis (N=164), we evaluated the interaction between discrimination experiences and experimental condition (PCST or control group) in linear regression models predicting depressive symptoms. There was a significant interaction between personal discrimination and experimental condition on depressive symptoms (interaction term coefficient: b=-3.2, 95% CI [- 6.4, - .02], p=.05). Discrimination was associated with depressive symptoms among those in the control group but not among those who received PCST. Participation in a PCST intervention may have reduced the association between discrimination experiences and depressive symptoms among participants in this sample. Future research should explore whether interventions aimed at teaching coping skills may be effective in ameliorating the harmful mental health effects of perceived discrimination.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Black or African American
  • Depression*
  • Humans
  • Osteoarthritis*
  • Pain