A new study by scientists at the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children has found that Black youth who have parents with a high level of education are more at risk for depression than other Black youth and youth in general. Generally, a high degree of parental education has been found to reduce the risk for depression among youths. But this study finds that this does not hold true for Black youth.
Dr. Elizabeth Goodman, senior author on the study, stated that “for Black youth, we found that higher parental education is a double-edged sword, buffering against the development of depression but also leading to increased discrimination, which in and of itself causes depression. Overall, the protective effects of high parent education are zeroed out by the negative effects of increased discrimination experienced because of that high socioeconomic status (SES).”
Dr. Goodman explained that “these upper-SES Black youth likely live in upper-SES, predominantly White communities where they may be made to feel out of place. That’s discrimination, and if you talk to young people, Black youth consistently report frequent experiences of discrimination – from being followed around in a store to being targeted by police – regardless of their socioeconomic status.”
The article, “The Role of Perceived Discrimination During Childhood and Adolescence in Understanding Racial and Socioeconomic Influences on Depression in Young Adulthood,” was published on the website of the Journal of Pediatrics. It may be accessed here.