Loma Linda University

Enrollment Information
Call us at: 909-558-1000

Faculty Directory
Colwick Wilson, PhD
Associate Dean, Academic Affairs, School of Behavioral Health
School of Behavioral Health
Professor, Counseling and Family Science
Member, Counseling and Family Sci, SST, Faculty of Graduate Studies
BA, 5/1983,
With Honors
BA, 5/1983,
With Honors
MA, 6/1988, Eastern Michigan University
With Honors
MA, 6/1997, Univ of Michigan Ann Arbor
PhD, 6/2003, Univ of Michigan Ann Arbor

Prior mental health research has found inconsistent racial differences in depressive symptoms, but blacks have lower levels of psychological well-being than whites and similar or lower rates of major depression.  These paradoxical findings are mostly derived from individual studies that often use one measure of mental health to assess racial differences.  Researchers are unclear about the extent to which sociodemographic and socioeconomic factors, along with stressors and resources, contribute to black/white differences in mental health.  This dissertation uses data from the Americans’ Changing Lives study (ACL), a large national probability sample of the U. S. population, to examine racial differences in psychological well-being, depressive symptoms and major depression.  Additionally, it examines the contribution of sociodemographic and socioeconomic variables to racial differences in mental health and the extent to which stressors and resources can explain these differences.  The analyses reveal that: (1) blacks have lower levels of psychological well-being, higher levels of depressive symptoms and similar rates of major depression compared to whites, even after adjusting for multiple sociodemographic and socioeconomic factors in this national sample, (2) acute and chronic stressors adversely affect mental health for blacks and whites, (4) job stressors are unrelated to mental health for blacks but weakly related to mental health for whites, (5) life events are more strongly related to well-being for blacks than whites but not to depressive symptoms and major depression, (6) financial stressors are more consequential for well-being and depressive symptoms for blacks than whites, but not for major depression, (7) religious attendance is more beneficial to blacks than whites for well-being and depressive symptoms but not for major depression, (8) religious beliefs are associated with increased levels of depressive symptoms for blacks compared to whites but not for well-being and major depression, (9) religious support is associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms for whites than blacks but not for well-being and major depression.  The limitations of the study are discussed and several implications and promising directions for future research are identified.