Racial and ethnic differences in major depressive episode, severe role impairment, and mental health service utilization in U.S. adolescents. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to examine racial and ethnic variations in national trends, past-year prevalence, determinants of major depressive episode (MDE), MDE-related role impairment and mental health (MH) services utilization in U.S. adolescents. METHODS: Data was extracted from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) from 2010 to 2018. A total of 137,671 nationally representative adolescents aged 12-17 were included in the study. Weighted temporal trends in the past-year prevalence of MDE, and MDE with severe role impairment were estimated both overall and by race and ethnicity. Weighted multivariate logistic regressions were conducted to assess racial/ethnic differences in determinants of MDE, MDE-related severe role impairment, and MH services utilization after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, family structure, substance use, activity participation, and problem-solving group engagement. RESULTS: The prevalence of MDE and MDE with severe role impairment among U.S. adolescents has steadily increased, while MDE-related health services utilization remained low from 2010 to 2018. Racial and ethnic minority adolescents were more likely to experience an MDE, but less likely to use MH services compared to their White counterparts. Participating in school, family, community, or faith-based activities was significantly associated with lower MDE incidence. Problem-solving group engagement was associated with MH services utilization (all p-values<0.05). CONCLUSION: High prevalence of depression and low MH service utilization among U.S. adolescents remains a public health issue. Moreover, racial/ethnic disparities persist in MH and service utilization outcomes. Future research must investigate the burden and predictors of mental illness, and the factors influencing MH services utilization in diverse adolescent populations.

published proceedings

  • J Affect Disord

author list (cited authors)

  • Fan, Q., DuPont-Reyes, M. J., Hossain, M. M., Chen, L., Lueck, J., & Ma, P.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Fan, Qiping||DuPont-Reyes, Melissa J||Hossain, Md Mahbub||Chen, Lei-Shih||Lueck, Jennifer||Ma, Ping

publication date

  • June 2022