A systematic review of somatic symptoms in women with depression or depressive symptoms: Do race or ethnicity matter?

Sandraluz Lara-Cinisomo, Tanitoluwa Demilade Akinbode, Jayme Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Racial and ethnic minority women in the United States have an elevated risk of depression or depressive symptoms compared with White women. There is evidence to suggest that these women are more likely to report somatic symptoms. The objective of this systematic review was to determine whether there are racial and ethnic differences in somatization in women with depression or depressive symptoms. Materials and Methods: The study focused on peer-reviewed, English-written publications of adult women that compared two or more racial or ethnic women and used reliable measures. Quantitative studies conducted in the United Stateswere considered.Articleswere reviewed fromMarch 2017 to April 2019, with no publication start date. Results: Seven studies met the inclusion criteria. Results suggest that African American women were more likely to endorse somatic symptoms compared with White women and, in one instance Hispanic/Latinas. Three of four studies found that Hispanic/Latinas were significantly more likely to endorse somatic symptoms compared with White women; one study found that White women were significantly more likely to report somatic symptoms than Hispanic women. Another study found that White women endorsed significantly higher somatic symptoms than Chinese American women. One study did not find significant differences. Conclusions: A pattern emerged with African American and Hispanic/Latina women with depression or depressive symptoms more likely to report somatic symptoms compared with White women. However, it is not clear whether differences were a function of culturally acceptable presentation of symptoms or if the stress of being depressed increased somatization in minority women. Future studies should assess how depression/ depressive symptoms affect racial and ethnic minority women to identify mechanisms involved in increased somatization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1273-1282
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Volume29
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020

Keywords

  • Depression
  • Minorities
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Somatic symptoms
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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