larly chronic) depression are reported along the lines of race and ethnicity. However, there seem to be some inconsistencies about whether the prevalence rates for depression in the general adult as well as in the parent population in racial/ethnic minority groups is higher or lower than their white counterparts. Existing national surveys2 report lower rates in life-time prevalence for adults in these racial/ethnic minority groups (e.g., Asian Americans, African Americans) and similar prevalence rates in a given year to that of non-Hispanic whites (Takeuchi et al., 2007; Williams et al., 2007). The limited available evidence suggests the need for research on this topic (Jackson and Williams, 2006). The subsample of the NCS-R specific to parents shows the highest rates of lifetime and past year major depression specifically among parents who are black immigrants from the Caribbean (about 30 percent), followed by non-Hispanic whites (around 20 percent), African Americans (around 12 percent), non-Mexican Hispanics (around 15 percent), and Mexicans (10 percent). Asians report the lowest prevalence (around 9 percent) (see Tables 1-2 and 1-3).

A number of studies have examined depression among groups that are disadvantaged for a variety of reasons, such as poverty. While these studies differ in terms of design, sample size, and specific findings, they all document the same trend: a positive association between depression and social disadvantage, except in the case of first generation immigrants. For example, studies of low-income women found depression rates nearly double those in the general population, ranging between 12 and 27 percent for current (Bassuk et al., 1998; Jesse et al., 2005; Lanzi et al., 1999 ) and 43 percent for lifetime prevalence (Bassuk et al., 1998). A longitudinal population study showed a clear relationship between worsening socioeconomic circumstances and depression, and a meta-analysis of 51 studies found compelling evidence for socioeconomic inequality in depression (Lorant et al., 2003, 2007). Among women participating in state welfare-to-work programs, Siefert and colleagues (2000) recorded current depression among more than a quarter of them. A national survey found homeless women with lifetime prevalence rates of depression around 45 percent and current (i.e., past month) prevalence rates of roughly 10 percent (Bassuk et al., 1998). In their research with incarcerated women, Bloom and colleagues found that 13.7 percent of their sample had been diagnosed with a current episode of depression (Bloom et al., 2003). Research indicates that immigrants from Mexico, the Caribbean, and Africa have lower rates of mental health disorders than their U.S.-born counterparts (Miranda et al., 2005; Vega et al., 1998); however, recent surveys also indicate the mental health

2

For example, the National Survey of American Life and the National Latino and Asian American Study.



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