Black-white differences in depressive symptoms among older adults over time

Kimberly A. Skarupski, Carlos F. Mendes De Leon, Julia L. Bienias, Lisa L. Barnes, Susan A. Everson-Rose, Robert S. Wilson, Denis A. Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


This study examines racial differences in depressive symptoms among older adults over time. The subjects were 4,275 community-dwelling persons aged 65 and older (62% Black) who participated in the Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP) during a period of 9 years. Depression was measured using a summary score of the 10-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression scale (CES-D). We modeled depressive symptoms using the method of General Estimating Equations and a Poisson error structure. We found a significant race effect at baseline with Blacks reporting approximately 60% more symptoms than Whites (β = 0.467 on the log scale, p < .001). The differences were larger for men than for women. After controlling for age, sex, time, education, income, and related interaction terms, the baseline race effect was reduced by almost half (β = 0.225, p < .001) but remained robust. The racial differences increased slightly over time. Our findings support heightened awareness of depression in older Black populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)P136-P142
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes


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