Depression and Its Treatment: Racial and Ethnic Disparities


Depression, or depressive disorder, is one of the wide-spread mental disorders. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) (2017), more than 300 million people all over the world, or 4.4% of the population are diagnosed with depression. The prevalence of depression depends on some factors. For example, unemployment, poverty, and other negative life events can stimulate the development of depression (WHO, 2017). Also, the prevalence of depression is influenced by age and gender. Thus, among the people aged 55-74, there are 7.5% of women and 5.5% of men with depression (WHO, 2017). At the same time, children and adolescents are rarely affected by this disorder.

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Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Depression: Article Summary

The research by Kim (2014) is dedicated to the problem of racial and ethnic disparities in depression and its treatment. Moreover, the author attempts to explain the phenomenon of racial and ethnic differences in depression and its causes. First of all, the researcher presents the statistics for a major depressive disorder (MDD). Thus, as of 2007, the lifetime prevalence of MDD in the United States was the highest for whites (17.9 %), while for Caribbean blacks and African Americans it was 12.9 % and 10.4 % correspondently (Kim, 2014). The author provides a review of literature dedicated to the issue of depression and racial or ethnic disparities related to this mental disorder.

As the findings of the review, the researcher presents the mechanism of racial and ethnic disparities in depression. Thus, Kim (2014) speaks about perceived racism, which is defined as “beliefs, attitudes, institutional arrangements, and acts that tend to denigrate individuals or groups because of phenotypic characteristics or ethnic group affiliation” (p. 3). Racism is considered to be a stressor, which has specific health outcomes for African Americans.

Racism can cause physiological and psychological stress responses, which can have unwanted effects on health outcomes. Kim (2014) mentions culture as another factor influencing perceptions of health and illnesses. Moreover, it can influence the choice of healthcare providers, treatment decisions, and adherence. Also, the author states that the lack of sociocultural competence can be another stimulus for health disparities including mental disorders.

The researcher concludes that racial/ethnic minority patients demonstrate differences in the treatment process as well as functional outcomes of depression. Practical implications and recommendations for this research include the development of interventions aimed at the reduction of racial/ethnic disparities in depression. These interventions can include multi-component chronic disease management interventions, which can be helpful for the representatives of ethnic minorities. Moreover, Kim (2014) supposes that treatment and prevention strategies based on the socio-cultural context can be more effective if compared to the usual treatment programs.

The Significance of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Nursing Practice

The knowledge of racial and ethnic disparities in depression can be applied in nursing professional practice because they have an impact on both diagnosing and treatment. Current studies prove the existence of disparities depending on race or ethnicity in depressive disorders. Thus, Shao, Richie, and Bailey (2015) investigate racial and ethnic disparities in diagnosing MDD. Another research by Cardemil, Nelson, and Keefe (2015) presents racial and ethnic peculiarities in the treatment of depression. The researchers agree that racial and ethnic disparities of minorities in diagnosing and treatment of depression exist and should be addressed to provide effective treatment.

The issue of racial and ethnic disparities is essential to nursing. The nursing staff has opportunities for reducing the negative consequences of these disparities in the following ways. For example, nurses can adapt the existing approaches to screening and treatment taking into consideration racial and ethnic peculiarities. It is particularly important for primary care settings where minority patients can get mental health care (Shao et al., 2015).

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As a nurse, I can be involved in quality improvement programs aimed at improving depression care among minorities. I will need knowledge about racial and ethnic disparities to reduce them and provide the necessary care. Moreover, nurses have to stimulate treatment adherence. This process can be more comfortable and more efficient in case a nurse is aware of the peculiarities of patients. Thus, my future practice will be influenced by the health disparities of minorities because the United States is a multinational country, which guarantees the right to equal access to healthcare. Thus, one of my tasks is to reduce these disparities by implementing evidence from research to healthcare practice.


Summarizing, it is necessary to say that nursing practice is influenced by a complex of factors. The peculiarities of the population, including racial and ethnic minorities, are among these factors. Consequently, a professional nurse should be aware of health disparities to be able to reduce them and provide high-quality care. In the case of racial and ethnic disparities in depression diagnosing and treatment, it is important to know the specific features related to depression in minorities because nurses have to contribute to treatment adherence of these patients. Moreover, the research findings of racial and ethnic disparities in depression diagnosing and treatment can be used for the development of quality improvement initiatives aimed at the advancement of patient outcomes.


Cardemil, E., Nelson, T., & Keefe, K. (2015). Racial and ethnic disparities in depression treatment. Current Opinion in Psychology, 4, 37-42. Web.

Kim, M. (2013). Racial/ethnic disparities in depression and its theoretical perspectives. Psychiatric Quarterly, 85(1), 1-8. Web.

Shao, Z., Richie, W., & Bailey, R. (2015). Racial and ethnic disparity in major depressive disorder. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 3(4), 692-705. Web.

World Health Organization. (2017). Depression and other common mental disorders. Web.

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"Depression and Its Treatment: Racial and Ethnic Disparities." StudyCorgi, 20 Dec. 2020,

1. StudyCorgi. "Depression and Its Treatment: Racial and Ethnic Disparities." December 20, 2020.


StudyCorgi. "Depression and Its Treatment: Racial and Ethnic Disparities." December 20, 2020.


StudyCorgi. 2020. "Depression and Its Treatment: Racial and Ethnic Disparities." December 20, 2020.


StudyCorgi. (2020) 'Depression and Its Treatment: Racial and Ethnic Disparities'. 20 December.

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