Prevalence of mental health disorders among low-income African American adolescents

Gayle R. Byck, John Bolland, Danielle Dick, Alan W. Ashbeck, Brian S. Mustanski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Purpose: Data on the prevalence of mental health disorders for low-income, urban African American adolescents are scarce. This study presents data about the burden of mental disorders for this understudied population. Methods: Mental disorders were assessed using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children (C-DISC), Youth Self-Report (YSR), and Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) among a sample of adolescents and their caregivers from very impoverished neighborhoods in a Southern city. Results: Based on the C-DISC, 3.8, 5.1 and 7.7 % of adolescents met diagnostic criteria for major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and conduct disorder, respectively. There were significant differences among some of the mental health disorders based on adolescent and caregiver characteristics such as sex, school status, caregiver work status, and income level. We found a low prevalence of alcohol, marijuana, and substance abuse and dependence disorders. Conclusions: Information about the prevalence of mental health disorders in specific communities and populations can assist in addressing unmet needs, planning for services and treatment, and reducing health disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1555-1567
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • Adolescent mental health
  • African American
  • Conduct disorder
  • Depression
  • Disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Social Psychology
  • Epidemiology


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