Study suggests black women experience depression differently

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According to a study recently published in the Nursing Research magazine, Black women’s symptoms of depression may be “underrecognized and undertreated” within the larger medical community.

Depression is ‘Most Likely’ to manifest as a burden or self-deprecation within black women

The study focused on data from 227 African American women and was based on an “explor[ing] depressive symptom phenotypes” within this demographic. Through the research, it was found that compared to more trade marks, black women can experience higher levels of self-criticism, sleep disturbance, and irritability, per NYU.

Regarding these findings, Lauren Carson – founder of a non-profit mental health organization called Black Girls Smile – noted that her experience with patients supports the conclusion.

“We as black women and girls are more likely to experience so-called psychosomatic symptoms, thus reflecting stress, anxiety or trauma in our bodies. “

In addition, she shared that black women dealing with depression or anxiety experience migraines, gastrointestinal problems, and muscle tension at higher rates than other populations.

“A lot of the information we get when it comes to making a diagnosis…It doesn’t always fit those fringe demographic groups.”

Therefore, commonly known symptoms of depression are not the same in general.

These differences may be due to ‘Underdiagnosis & Undertreatment’

As a result, Dr. Nicole Perez, lead author of the study, “It is possible that health care providers are missing symptoms of depression in black women, leading to underdiagnosis and undertreatment.”

“My hope is that these findings will contribute to the growing conversation about how depression can look different from person to person and raise awareness of the need for more research in numbers about which there is little study and historical analysis.

Perez continued, sharing that action must be taken “so we can better identify symptoms and reduce missed care and health disparities.” “

How the ‘Strong & Resilient’ Black Woman Stereotype Exemplifies

In addition to examining differences between symptoms, it was explained why some of these differences occur. In particular, the study definitely shed light on how Black women can be expected to be “strong” to express depression as self-criticism and people-pleasing.

Meghan Watson, founder of the Bloom Psychology & Wellness center in Toronto, said, “It’s not emotionally safe to just be sad or hopeless, those are some of the telltale signs of depression.”

“I think that there are many of the reasons that I express [people-pleasing] to depression that is from my understanding in talking to Black women on a regular basis, that it is not emotionally safe to just be sad or hopeless, which are the hallmarks of depression. “

What do you think of these findings?


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