University of Sussex

File(s) not publicly available

Ethnic density and depressive symptoms among African Americans: threshold and differential effects across social and demographic subgroups

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-09, 14:24 authored by Laia Becares, James Nazroo, James Jackson
Objectives. We examined the association between Black ethnic density and depressive symptoms among African Americans. We sought to ascertain whether a threshold exists in the association between Black ethnic density and an important mental health outcome, and to identify differential effects of this association across social, economic, and demographic subpopulations. Methods. We analyzed the African American sample (n?=?3570) from the National Survey of American Life, which we geocoded to the 2000 US Census. We determined the threshold with a multivariable regression spline model. We examined differential effects of ethnic density with random-effects multilevel linear regressions stratified by sociodemographic characteristics. Results. The protective association between Black ethnic density and depressive symptoms changed direction, becoming a detrimental effect, when ethnic density reached 85%. Black ethnic density was protective for lower socioeconomic positions and detrimental for the better-off categories. The masking effects of area deprivation were stronger in the highest levels of Black ethnic density. Conclusions. Addressing racism, racial discrimination, economic deprivation, and poor services—the main drivers differentiating ethnic density from residential segregation—will help to ensure that the racial/ethnic composition of a neighborhood is not a risk factor for poor mental health.


Publication status

  • Published


American Journal of Public Health




American Public Health Association





Department affiliated with

  • Social Work and Social Care Publications

Full text available

  • No

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Publications)


    No categories selected