Life-Course Mobility in Socioeconomic Position and High Depressive Symptoms Among Young Black Women: The SELF Study

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Women's health issues


BACKGROUND: Current literature on the association between mobility in socioeconomic position (SEP) and depression demonstrates mixed findings, with variation in the benefits of upward SEP by racial group and ethnic background. No study has examined life-course SEP mobility and depressive symptoms among Black women in the United States.

METHODS: Our cohort included 1,612 Black women enrolled in the Study of Environment, Lifestyle and Fibroids between 2010 and 2012 and followed for 5 years. We used data on socioeconomic indicators at childhood and adulthood and used latent class analysis to create a life-course SEP mobility measure (persistently low, downward, upward, and persistently high). Using the 11-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), we assessed high (≥9) versus low depressive symptoms. Multivariable log risk models were used to produce risk ratios (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

RESULTS: Of the participants, 37% had high depressive symptoms. Persistently low (RR, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.31-1.86) and downward (RR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.14-1.63) SEP mobility was associated with high depressive symptoms after adjustment for age, adult social support, and marital status. There was evidence of an effect measure modification by adult social support, with a stronger association among those who reported high adult social support compared with low adult social support.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest directing mental health resources to people experiencing low SEP at any stage in life, especially those with low SEP in adulthood, to aid in the management of depressive symptoms.

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ePub ahead of print