A developmental shift in Black-White differences in depressive affect across adolescence and early adulthood: The influence of early adult social roles and socio-economic status

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined Black-White differences in growth of depressive affect using a longitudinal sample of middle-class, suburban U.S. subjects (n = 956) that spanned from adolescence to early adulthood. Specifically, this study examined whether Black-White differences in growth of depressive affect shift over time, and the extent to which that shift, if any, was associated with racial differences in the rate and mental health consequences of early adult social roles (e.g., living arrangements, work/college status, and single parenthood) and socioeconomic status (SES). As expected, growth in depressive affect pivoted around the onset of early adulthood, with the trajectory pivoting upward for Black Americans and downward for White Americans. Due to deficits in SES, the relation between challenging early adult social roles-under/ unemployment in particular-and growth in depressive affect was more positive for Black Americans. This differential "vulnerability" appears to underlie racial differences in early adult growth (and by connection contribute to racial differences in growth pivot). The extent to which Black Americans were at a greater risk (relative to White Americans) for an upward pivot increased as the number of challenging roles increased. Black Americans facing only optimal early adult social roles were not at a greater risk, while those facing only challenging social roles were at the greatest risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-469
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Volume35
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • cumulative risk
  • early adulthood
  • mental health
  • piece-wise growth curve modeling
  • race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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