American International Journal of Social Science

ISSN 2325-4149(Print), ISSN 2325-4165(Online) DIO: 10.30845/aijss

A Measurement Model of Depressive Symptoms among Older, African American Women
Tamika Baldwin-Clark, PhD, LCSW-S; Jackson de Carvalho, PhD

For more than four decades, researchers have found depression to be a common mental illness among the elderly. Depression is a generalized mood disorder characterized by feelings of sadness and hopelessness, a sense of worthlessness, difficulty concentrating, loss of interest, and decrease in energy level. This definition is reflected in the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). The rates of depression among elderly residents of institutions are 67% higher than among elderly adults residing at home. As in the United States, elderly women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depressive symptoms as elderly men.. Time and again, research has revealed that depression is a significant problem for individuals later in life and may affect their psychological well-being. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) 2010 wave, a secondary analysis was conducted to examine depression among community-dwelling, African American women, age 50 and over, as it relates to age, social support, religion, caregiving, and physical health. Intersectionality and social construction were used as theoretical frameworks for the study. Findings indicated significant relationships between depression and age, social support, and physical health. However, depression is treatable with pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy or combination of both.The overall purpose of this study was to explore the factors that may predict depression among older African American females, as well as identify gaps in the literature and add to the knowledge base about depression among this population of color, and develop a framework for future studies investigating mental health issues among diverse populations beyond African Americans.

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