Discord of Biological and Psychological Measures in a Group of Depressed African American and White Cancer Patients
Amy Y. Zhang*
Identifiers and Pagination:Year: 2011
First Page: 60
Last Page: 64
Publisher ID: TONURSJ-5-60
Article History:Received Date: 3/6/2011
Revision Received Date: 7/8/2011
Acceptance Date: 19/8/2011
Electronic publication date: 30/9/2011
Collection year: 2011
open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.
This study examined racial differences in the self-report of depressive symptoms by reference to biological states.
The study used a convenience sample of 20 depressed cancer patients (CES-D ≥16) (15 African Americans and 5 Whites). Subjects completed depression assessment on a battery of psychological measures and provided blood and saliva samples. Laboratory tests were performed on biomarkers (serotonin, cortisol and IL-6). T-test was computed to examine racial differences on biological and psychological measures.
Depressed Whites had a significantly higher cortisol level than depressed African Americans, but no significant group difference was found on any self-reported psychological measures of depression. There was a trend that African Americans reported fewer depressive symptoms on psychological measures but exceeded Whites on the domain of somatization; however, such group differences did not approach statistic significance in this small sample.
African Americans did not appear to underreport depression in consideration of their biological states, but had a tendency to report more somatic symptoms than Whites; this may be attributable to non-depression diseases or reporting behavior rather than somatic sensitivity. African Americans exhibited more mistrust in the health care system, which could affect the self-report of depression. There is a discord between biological and psychological measures of depression. Biomarkers prove to be useful for evaluating racial difference in the self-report of depression.
Implication for Nursing:
Nurses should be cautious of somatic complaints when assessing African American cancer patient’s depression. Establishing trust is essential for an accurate assessment of depression in African American cancer patients.