Mind-body techniques, race-ethnicity, and depression among urban senior center participants

Carmen Morano, Nancy Giunta, Nina S. Parikh, Skylar Panuska, Miriam C. Fahs, William T. Gallo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As the older adult population grows and becomes more diverse, more of its members are turning to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). There are mixed findings regarding racial and ethnic differences in the use of CAM. This article explores racial and ethnic differences in use of a category of CAM known as mind-body techniques (MBT) among senior center participants with symptoms of depression. It also examines the relationship between use of MBT and depression severity. A cross-sectional survey was conducted with a representative sample of senior center participants in New York City, from which a subsample of those with depressive symptoms was drawn. Racial and ethnic differences in MBT use were identified, as was a significant negative relationship between MBT use and depression severity. African American elders were more likely to have used MBT than other racial or ethnic groups. When controlling for race or ethnicity, health status, and barriers to medical care, predictors of depression severity included health status, experiencing barriers to medical care, and Hispanic identity. Findings suggest that being female or younger is associated with a higher likelihood of using CAM. Contrary to some prior research, education level was not associated with use of MBT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-172
Number of pages6
JournalHealth and Social Work
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Alternative medicine
  • Multicultural
  • Older adults
  • Senior centers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)


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