African American women; Depression; Depression in women; Low-income single mothers; Negative thinking; Poor; Self-esteem


Community-Based Research | Demography, Population, and Ecology | Gender and Sexuality | Inequality and Stratification | Mental Disorders | Public Health | Race and Ethnicity


Purpose: To test a model of predictors of depression in low-income single African American mothers. Design: Secondary analysis of existing data collected as part of a study of women at risk for clinical depression.

Methods: Cross sectional secondary data analysis of a study of low-income African American single mothers with children ages 2-6. Path analysis was used to test a model of the potential mediating role of negative thinking. It was hypothesized that negative thinking mediates the effects of chronic stressors, general health status, and self-esteem on depressive symptoms

Finding: Negative thinking mediated the relationships of chronic stressors and self-esteem with depressive symptoms. Conclusions: These findings supported the proposed model with one exception: negative thinking did not mediate the effects of physical health on depressive symptoms. Physical health also had no direct effect on depressive symptoms. Negative thinking may play a pivotal role in the development of depression for these at risk women. Self-esteem, chronic stressors and negative thinking should be important considerations in designing interventions to improve the mental health of at-risk African American women.