Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Monica H. Swahn, PhD, MPH

Second Advisor

Kisha B. Holden, PhD, MSCR

Abstract

Mental illness is a significant contributor to the global burden of disease. As public health practitioners, we must generate more than sufficient knowledge about mental health and illness in order to identify risk factors, increase awareness, improve treatment, eliminate the overall disparity associated with mental illness, and improve access to care to all affected, including those disproportionally affected by mental illness. Over time, there has been an overall lack of sufficient research studies on depression among African American women. As research in this area grows, it is critical to examine the underlying causative factors that are correlated with this disease and this population in order to provide better treatment options and a global understanding. This project will examine and analyze data obtained from the study assessment as it relates to psychosocial factors as reported by the study participants and generate a conclusion based on these findings. Additionally, this project will look to determine the help‐seeking behaviors of these women with access to a primary care physician and/or clinic. Overall, findings from this thesis project will provide an understanding of the specific psychosocial variables affecting African American women with depression and depressive symptoms, as well as provide an understanding of the help‐seeking behaviors of African American women, and contribute to the improvement of research in mental health in the United States.

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