Depression Among African American Nursing Home Patients With Dementia

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The authors compared 218 black and 68 white nursing home patients with dementia for differences in the prevalence, recognition, and treatment of depression. There were no racial differences in depressive symptoms, but whites were significantly more likely to receive a diagnosis of “possible depression” and there were few racial differences in clinical, social, or demographic factors associated with depression. Depression was often unrecognized and undertreated in both racial groups; several depression instruments developed for use in dementia had good reliability and validity among blacks; and there were no significant differences in depressive symptoms or diagnosis between U.S.-born and Caribbean-born black patients. The absence of any appreciable interracial or intraracial differences in depression symptoms or diagnoses may reflect uniformity in nursing home selection criteria or lessening of mood differences that may have existed before admission.

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