Date: 11 Sep 2007

Race and Ethnicity Differences in Reporting of Depressive Symptoms

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Our study explored race and ethnicity differences in reporting of symptoms to physicians and other practitioners among respondents to the 1999 National Health Interview Survey who screened positive for depression. Respondents were asked if they had told a doctor or another practitioner (nurse, social worker, psychologist, clergy, other) about their problems. Whites and Hispanics were significantly more likely to communicate with a physician or other practitioner than were African Americans, even with personal characteristics held constant. Practitioners should actively elicit descriptions of feelings and mood, especially with African Americans, and be prepared to treat or refer patients appropriately.

An early version of this paper was given as a podium presentation at the National Leadership Summit on Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health, Washington DC, January, 2006.