Risk and protective factors for depressive symptoms in urban African American adolescents

Darius S. Tandon, Barry S. Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


There is limited understanding of risk and protective factors associated with depression among African American adolescents living in impoverished, urban settings. A cross-sectional study was conducted to identify a range of risk and protective factors associated with depressive symptoms among low-income urban African American adolescents. The sample (n = 467) comprised African American adolescents from three high-poverty urban neighborhoods in Baltimore, Maryland. A self-administered read aloud survey completed by adolescents assessed depressive symptoms as well as various individual- and environmental-level risk and protective factors. Multivariate analyses indicated that female gender, living with an adult with a substance abuse problem, greater exposure to physical violence, and greater peer delinquency were associated with higher depressive symptoms. Greater home assets and self-awareness were associated with lower depressive symptoms. Future interventions to prevent and treat depression among urban African American adolescents should focus on minimizing their risk factors while enhancing those factors found to be protective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-99
Number of pages20
JournalYouth and Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Adolescent
  • African American
  • Depression
  • Protective factors
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)


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