Prevalence and correlates of depression among Black individuals in Canada: The major role of everyday racial discrimination
May 5, 2021
Citation: Depress Anxiety. 2021 May 5 [Epub ahead of print]

BACKGROUND Depression is a common mental health problem causing significant disability globally, including in Canada. Prevalence estimates for depression within Black communities in Canada are unknown. This study determined the prevalence of depression in a sample of Black Canadians and the association between everyday racial discrimination experiences and depression.
METHODS We analyzed data collected from the Black Community Mental Health project in Canada. Participants provided sociodemographic information and completed measures assessing depressive symptomology, everyday racial discrimination, and social support. The prevalence of depressive symptomatology was computed across sociodemographic variables and categories of everyday racial discrimination. Different regression models were conducted to examine the relationship between depressive symptoms and everyday racism controlling for sociodemographic factors.
RESULTS In total, 65.87% of participants reported severe depressive symptoms, with higher rates among women, those who are employed, and those born in Canada. The linear regression models showed that everyday racial discrimination is the best predictor of depressive symptoms, with a final model explaining 25% of the variance. A logistic regression model demonstrated that those experiencing a high level of racial discrimination are 36.4 more likely to present severe depressive symptoms when compared to those reporting a low level of discrimination.
CONCLUSIONS Rates of depressive symptoms among Black individuals are nearly six times the 12-month prevalence reported for the general population in Canada. Racial discrimination, which significantly predicts greater depressive symptomatology, is consistent with earlier studies in the United States and suggests that Canadian colorblind policies may inadvertently reinforce racial discrimination with detrimental effects on mental health.