Abstract: Assessing Correlations between Racial Discrimination and Anxiety within Integrated Care (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

193P Assessing Correlations between Racial Discrimination and Anxiety within Integrated Care

Friday, January 13, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Zachary Cooper, MSW, PhD Student, University of Georgia
Ronald Pitner, PhD, Chair of Social Work, University of Alabama, Birmingham
Background. Experiences of racial discrimination have increased distress for communities of color and have increased risk for various healthcare concerns. The extant research provides general connections between race, racism and mental health. However, racism is a complex phenomenon, involving myriad, complex dynamics—experiences with racism, racial identity/centrality, racial stress, internalized racism, and racial self-esteem, to name a few. There is a paucity of studies that examine how the intersection of these racial dynamics affect one’s mental health symptomatology. Moreover, research seldom examines how racism and discrimination affect specific types of mental illness, such as depression. Toward this end, the purpose of this study was 1) to examine the associations between depression and patients’ perceived stress, experiences with discrimination, and their self-esteem and 2) to examine how demographic variables (e.g, race, gender, class) moderate these associations.

Methods. This study was conducted in a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) located in the southeastern region of the United States. The FQHC provides mental health and primary care services to over 8,500 patients each year. With a confidence interval at 95% and a margin of error of 5%, the ideal sample size for this study was 363 participants. This study employed a convenient sampling strategy. Overall, there were 421 participants (55.8% White and 37.8% Black); 71.3% were female and 75.8% had incomes under $30k per year.

Participants completed a 25-minute survey that consisted of the Beck Depression Scale, Beck Anxiety Inventory, Perceived Stress Scale, Rosenberg’s Self-esteem Scale, The Everyday Discrimination Scale, Experiences with Discrimination Scale, Modern Racism Scale, and demographics. Analyses consisted of correlational analyses, t-test, and hierarchical linear regressions.

Results. Findings from a series of t-test analyses suggest that White participants scored higher than Black participants in income levels, depression, anxiety, perceived stress, and modern racism. Black participants scored higher on experiences with discrimination, everyday discrimination, and self-esteem (p values were all less than .01). A hierarchical regression was conducted to examine what variables best predicted depression. Overall, Model 1 showed that anxiety, perceived stress, and self-esteem all predicted depression when controlling for the other variables in the model. Model 2 suggested that perceived stress, self-esteem, and experiences with discrimination predicted depression; anxiety was no longer a predictor nor was everyday discrimination. Model 3 was the full model and showed that perceived stress, self-esteem, and experiences with discrimination continued to be significant predictors of depression. No other variables were significant in the model.

Implications. Our findings show that when it comes to understanding the impact of racism and discrimination on depressive symptomatology, it is important to examine an intersection of racial dynamics and their effects. Implications for mental health professionals working with mental health patients of color will be explored in this poster presentation.