PhD Candidate Patricia Louie and Professor Blair Wheaton on “Prevalence and Patterning of Mental Disorders Through Adolescence in Three Cohorts of Black and White Americans”

Blair WheatonPhD Candidate Patricia Louie and Professor Blair Wheaton have co-authored an article published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, entitled “Prevalence and Patterning of Mental Disorders Through Adolescence in Three Cohorts of Black and White Americans.” This article examines the black-white disparities in mental disorders across three cohorts of blacks and whites in the United States. The findings suggest that the mental disorder patterns of black and white Americans have changed across cohorts.

Patricia Louie is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto. She explores the racial patterning of mental health in her work. Currently, Patricia’s research examines racial disparities in mental and physical health using multiple dimensions of race, including skin tone. In addition, she examines the counterbalancing role of social stressors and coping resources in explaining race and skin tone inequalities in health. Blair Wheaton is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto (St. George). He specializes in quantitative methods and the sociology of mental health. Professor Wheaton’s current research examines the role of neighbourhood effects on mental health outcomes. He is particularly interested in effects over time. Professor Wheaton is currently funded, along with co-investigators in Sociology and St. Michael’s Hospital, to conduct a major Toronto survey on the effects of neighbourhood on mental health. These projects are: Neighbourhood Contexts, the Individual, and Mental Health: A Multilevel Study and Investigating Neighbourhood Effects on Mental Health. This major project is supported by SSHRC, CIHR and the Centre for Urban Health Initiatives.

We have posted the citation and the abstract of the article below. The full text is available here.

Patricia Louie, Blair Wheaton, Prevalence and Patterning of Mental Disorders Through Adolescence in 3 Cohorts of Black and White Americans, American Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 187, Issue 11, November 2018, Pages 2332–2338, https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwy144

The tendency for US blacks to report similar or lower rates of mental disorder than whites is well-established. However, whether these disparities are stable across cohorts of black and white Americans is not well understood. In the current study, we examined black-white differences in the lifetime prevalence of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, mood, anxiety, impulse control, and substance use disorders and any mental disorders across 3 cohorts of blacks and whites aged 4–18 years. Using merged data from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (2001–2003) and the National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement (2001–2004), we observed a change in the black-white patterning of mental disorder between 1957 and 2004. Blacks born during 1957–1969 reported lower rates of anxiety disorders than their white counterparts (odds ratio (OR) = 0.69, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.52, 0.91); blacks born during 1970–1982 reported no difference in the rates of anxiety disorders relative to whites (OR = 0.97, 95% CI: 0.76, 1.25); and blacks born during 1983–1991 reported higher rates of anxiety disorders than whites (OR = 1.30, 95% CI: 1.18, 1.43). Similar but less distinct trends were observed for mood disorders, impulse control disorders, and any disorders. Our results suggest that the black-white patterning of mental disorder in the United States has changed across cohorts, to the disadvantage of black Americans.