Depression, Self-Esteem, and Multiracial Adolescents: The Role of Socioeconomic Status and Family Structure

Jamie Mihoko Doyle, University of Pennsylvania

In light of the growing number of investigations of racial disparities in mental health, there has been an increased interest in multiracials. They are changing the meaning and measurement of race itself. The objective of this study is to investigate differences in depression and self-esteem by examining the role of individual characteristics and family structure. The analysis uses Wave I of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a nationally representative sample of 20,743 students ages 12-18. Depression is dichotomized using a modified version of the CES-D. Self-esteem is assessed using the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Logistic regression and linear mixed models are used for the analysis. I find that Asian-White multiracials have the lowest self-esteem and highest risk of depression net of socioeconomic status and family structure, and Black-White multiracials cannot be differentiated from their single-race counterparts. These findings open up new avenues for research on the wellbeing of multiracials.

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Presented in Session 40: Adolescent Mental Health in the U.S.