Running head: MENTAL HEALTH: THE AFRICAN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVE
Running head: MENTAL HEALTH: THE AFRICAN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVE 2
African Americans living in urban, low-income, impoverished environments are at high risk for exposure to traumatic events, and have a potential prevalence of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to previous and repeated trauma exposure.
African-Americans living in urban, low income communities with continuous exposure to community violence and previous personal trauma exposure, may have a higher prevalence of PTSD and other mental health disorders. As a result, living in these environments could increase the likelihood of ...view middle of the document...
The study showed that trauma exposure appeared to be higher in African Americans living in stressful urban environments. The study suggests that an individuals’ continuous exposure to trauma has detrimental consequences compared to those that experienced single trauma exposure, and that the effects of previous assaultive violence are worse than the effects of previous trauma of a lessor magnitude (Breslau, N.B., Chilcoat, H. D., Kessler, R.C., Davis, G. C., 1999).
Running head: MENTAL HEALTH: THE AFRICAN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVE 3
These stressors may also be directly linked to increased levels of emotional and mental distress among African Americans.
In the 2002 National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), rates for exposure to crimes of violence were 27.9 per 1,000 persons for African Americans, and 22.8 per 1,000 persons for Whites. Rates of violence exposure were estimated to be between 25 to 97 percent among African American youths residing in urban communities (Fitzpatrick, & Boldizar, 1993). Despite the potential prevalence for mental health issues and PTSD in the urban community, trauma exposure is under-recognized among African Americans. PTSD and other mental health disorders often get underdiagnosed and go untreated.
Racial and ethnic differences among mental health providers and the urban community can play a significant role in the perception of care. African Americans may be less likely to seek out mental health services because of their perception of a lack of cultural competence and bias. Researchers (Van Ryn, Burke, 2002), have provided evidence that bias and stereotyping exists among health care providers. Moreover researchers assert that the cultural orientation of
Running head: PTSD & THE AFRICAN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVE 4
medical care system is less congruent with the cultural perspectives of some patient groups than others (Taylor, 2003; Kagawa-Stinger & Kassim-Lakha, 2003; Wear, 2003).
Given the important role that interpersonal processes, manifestations of bias and cultural competence, may play in the provision of health care to racial and ethnic minorities (Taylor, 2003; Kagawa-Stinger & Kassim-Lakha, 2003; Van Ryn & Fu, 2003), measures of these phenomena might be important indicators of individual physician and health care system cultural competence.
Personal and institutional relationships may be affected by concerns of continued discrimination against African Americans who have historically been victims of both interpersonal and institutional racial discrimination (LaVeist & Nuru-Jeter, 2002). Research demonstrated that concordance in patient and physician race is positively related to African Americans perceptions of quality of care. Patient satisfaction supports the notion that fear of race-based discrimination in interpersonal relationships with health care providers may also affect trust...