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Study Shows Southern African American Women Suffer Less Depression

Wikimedia Commons/The National Institute on Drug Abuse

African American women in the South’s rural areas are less likely to suffer from depression than those who live in Southern urban areas.  That’s according to a new study from the University of Michigan.  The study uses data from the National Survey of American Life to examine how poverty and low education affect mental illness in black and white women living in the rural South.  

About 4 percent of rural African American women say they’ve experienced depression in their lives.  Numbers for urban and suburban counterparts are more than double.  Among Southern white women, more than 20 percent say they’ve experienced depression.

The authors say the disparity in respondents could be due to differing levels of social support networks for white and black women.  They also note strong family ties, high levels of spirituality, and a sense of solidarity with other women of color may contribute to lower rates of depression.  The study authors say more research is needed to better understand rural mental health needs and to help formulate better intervention strategies.

Todd Hatton hails from Paducah, Kentucky, where he got into radio under the auspices of the late, great John Stewart of WKYX while a student at Paducah Community College. He also worked at WKMS in the reel-to-reel tape days of the early 1990s before running off first to San Francisco, then Orlando in search of something to do when he grew up. He received his MFA in Creative Writing at Murray State University. He vigorously resists adulthood and watches his wife, Angela Hatton, save the world one plastic bottle at a time.
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