Depression in the African American Christian Community: Examining Denominational and Gender Differences


Scott, M. J.; Robbins, P. A.; Conde, E.; & Bentley-Edwards, K. L. (2022). Depression in the African American Christian Community: Examining Denominational and Gender Differences. J Relig Health.


Depression among African American adults can diminish their daily functioning and quality of life. African American communities commonly uses religion and spirituality (R/S) to cope with life stressors; however, it is unclear whether R/S contribute to mental health risk or resilience. Since men and women differ in their R/S participation and Christian denominations have varying gender roles and expectations, it is critical to determine if they experience similar mental health effects. This study examines whether self-reported denominational affiliation predicts dissimilar odds of reporting elevated depressive symptoms among African American young adults and if these effects are different for women and men, using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health). Results indicate that the odds of having elevated depressive symptoms are three times higher for Catholic women compared to Baptist women, but no denominational differences were found among men. This study highlights how unique denominational and gender subcultures within African American Christian communities may predict depression outcomes. Healthcare professionals and church-based outreach programs should consider the role of denomination and gender when designing and participating in efforts to support mental health equity.



African Americans



Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

J Relig Health


Scott, M. J.
Robbins, P. A.
Conde, E.
Bentley-Edwards, K. L.

Year Published






Reference ID