Original Article

Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 77-84

First online:

Lost in Summation: Depression Among African American Female Caregivers and Noncaregivers

  • T. J. McCallumAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Case Western Reserve University Email author 
  • , S. Melinda SpencerAffiliated withCenter for Minority Health, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh
  • , R. Turner GoinsAffiliated withCenter on Aging and Department of Community Medicine, West Virginia University

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Ethnic differences in mental health have been established using large between-group research designs. Across ethnicity, studies have found that caregivers are at increased risk for depression, but little is known about within-group variability in depressive symptomatology. African American caregivers and noncaregivers were compared on different factors of depressive symptoms as measured by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression subscales. Caregivers reported significantly less positive affect than noncaregivers. Rates were similar for negative affect, somatic complaints, and interpersonal relations. Depression may present itself in different ways among African Americans in the caregiving context, and results suggest information may be lost when global measures of depression are used.


African American Caregiving Depression Depressive symptomatology