Article

Sex Differences in the Effect of Education on Depression: Resource Multiplication or Resource Substitution?

University of Texas at Austin, USA.
Social Science & Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.56). 10/2006; 63(5):1400-13. DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2006.03.013
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Does education improve psychological well-being more for one sex than for the other? Resource substitution theory hypothesizes that education improves well-being more for women, because socioeconomic disadvantage makes them depend more on education to achieve well-being. Resource multiplication implies the opposite, that education improves well-being more for men, because they get bigger labor market payoffs from it such as authority and earnings. Data from a 1995 survey of US adults with follow-ups in 1998 and 2001 support the resource substitution hypothesis. Depression decreases more steeply for women than for men as the level of education increases. The gender gap in depression essentially disappears among persons with a college degree or higher. Two mediating interactions appear to account for the convergence. Education increases work creativity more sharply for women than for men, thereby reducing depression. Education increases the sense of control for both sexes equally, but depression declines more steeply for women as sense of control increases. Growth curve analyses of depression vectors confirm the resource substitution pattern. The adulthood life course pattern of depression levels and changes depends more strongly on education for women than for men.

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    • "The theory of resource multiplication on the other hand states that resources reinforce each other’s impact. Consequently, the presence of a certain resource will have a larger impact on people with more alternative resources, and less impact in the absence of alternative resources [65]. Making the link to different forms of capital, the resource multiplication theory would claim that people in an advantaged position on the level of one specific resource (e.g. "
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    • "Our results show how education, a fundamental cause of health and disease, can serve as a valuable resource that offsets even innate biological risk. Education increases an individual's ability to adapt, modify, and use surrounding resources (Becker, 1964; Cutler and Lleras-Muney, 2008; Ross and Mirowsky, 2006). As such, polices that reduce disparities in education may help offset underlying genetic risk. "
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    • "Future studies on this issue will need a category scheme that is far more subtle and complete than the one used here and in the Taiwan study. In sum, the findings of this study paralleled previous western research that suggested the importance of educational attainment as an indicator of SES for women [35]. "
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