Asset Building Financial Inclusion Working Paper

Depression and Poverty Among African-American Women at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

Poverty is associated with negative health outcomes, including depression. Little is known about the specific elements of poverty that contribute to depression, particularly among African- American women at risk for type 2 diabetes. This study examined the relationships of economic and social resources to depression among African-American women at high risk for the development of type 2 diabetes (N=181) using the Conservation of Resources (COR) theory as a conceptual framework. Women were assessed at three time points in conjunction with a dietary change intervention. At baseline, 40% of women reported clinically significant depression and 43.3% were below the poverty line. Depressed (CESD total score > 16) women reported fewer economic assets and greater economic distress than non-depressed peers. Multivariate logistic regression analyses indicated that non-work status, lack of home ownership, low appraisal of economic situation, low self-esteem, and increased life events were significantly associated with depression at baseline. Longitudinal multivariate logistic regression models indicated that income, home ownership, future economic appraisal, life events and self-esteem predicted depression trajectories at Time 3. These results speak to the multifaceted sources of stress in the lives of poor African-American women. Interventions that address the economic and social factors associated with depression are needed.

Subsequent publication: De Groot, M., Auslander, W., Williams, J. H., Sherraden, M., & Haire-Joshu, D. (2003). Depression and poverty among African American women at risk for type 2 diabetes. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 25(3), 172–181. doi:10.1207/S15324796ABM2503_03


De Groot, M., Auslander, W., Williams, J. H., Sherraden, M., & Haire-Joshu, D. (2001). Depression and poverty among African-American women at risk for Type 2 diabetes (CSD Working Paper No. 01-9).  St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.