This article differentiates a social etiology model focused on identifying the social antecedents of one particular mental disorder from a social consequences model concerned with the overall mental health consequences of various social arrangements. In the social etiology model, people with disorders other than the one particular disorder singled out for investigation are implicitly classified as "well." This disorder-specific model is inappropriate for the more general sociological task of identifying the consequences of various social arrangements, such as concentrated poverty, racial segregation, and gender stratification. It is problematic because these consequences are typically nonspecific, not limited to one particular disorder. From this perspective, persons classified as "well" in the disorder-specific model who have a different disorder are misclassified. Consequently, the impact of social arrangements is underestimated, and estimates of causal effects are biased. To address these problems, the full range of theoretically derived mental health outcomes needs to be simultaneously analyzed.
"A sociological approach to mental health encourages attention to both internalizing and externalizing mental health outcomes. Because the intention of the sociological study of mental health is to understand the consequences of social conditions, a focus on only one type of outcome fails to appropriately delimit the contours of the ramifications of these social conditions (Aneshensel 2005). In some cases, this is important because the consequences of stressors may differ across internalizing and externalizing outcomes (e.g., Bierman 2012). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Research documents the mental health toll of combat operations on military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan, but little research examines civilians who work alongside members of the military. In this research, we argue that a sense of threat is an "ambient stressor" that permeates daily life among civilians who work in these war zones, with mastery likely to both mediate and moderate the mental health effects of this stressor. Using a unique probability sample of Department of Army civilians, we find that threat is positively related to distress, but mastery mediates this relationship nonlinearly, with the indirect relationship between threat and distress strengthening as threat increases. The moderating function of mastery is also nonlinear, with moderate levels of mastery providing maximum stress buffering. This research suggests that contextual conditions of constraint can create nonlinearities in the way that mastery mediates and moderates the effects of ambient stressors.
Social Psychology Quarterly 03/2014; 77(1):27-53. DOI:10.1177/0190272513513962 · 1.89 Impact Factor
"Although diagnostic mental health measures, including major depression, were measured in the MTO protocols, very low prevalence severely limited power. Effects of social context may also be nonspecific, to affect more than one disorder, so using dimensional measures of symptomatology may be helpful for population or community assessment (Aneshensel, 2005; McMahon et al., 2003). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Moving to Opportunity (MTO) was a social experiment to test how relocation to lower poverty neighborhoods influences low-income families. Using adolescent data from 4 to 7 year evaluations (aged 12-19, n=2829), we applied gender-stratified intent-to-treat and adherence-adjusted linear regression models, to test effect modification of MTO intervention effects on adolescent mental health. Low parental education, welfare receipt, unemployment and never-married status were not significant effect modifiers. Tailoring mobility interventions by these characteristics may not be necessary to alter impact on adolescent mental health. Because parental enrollment in school and teen parent status adversely modified MTO intervention effects on youth mental health, post-move services that increase guidance and supervision of adolescents may help support post-move adjustment.
Health & Place 05/2013; 23C:79-88. DOI:10.1016/j.healthplace.2013.05.002 · 2.81 Impact Factor
"Most likely, marital status did not moderate the relationship between functional limitations and anger because once time-stable confounds were holistically taken into account, limitations were not significantly related to anger. That marital status moderated this relationship for depression but not anger underscores the importance of considering multiple outcomes when examining how social arrangements shape mental health (Aneshensel 2005). A study focusing only on depression would have presented a more robust depiction of both the mental health consequences of physical limitations and the moderating capabilities of marital status than is actually the case. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This research examines how marital status modifies the relationship between functional limitations and two aspects of psychological distress—depression and anger. Analyses of a multiwave national probability survey show that marriage weakens the relationship between functional limitations and depression, but this moderation is specific to older men. Functional limitations are not significantly related to anger once time-stable confounds are comprehensively controlled, and this association does not differ by marital status. This research shows that marriage may benefit mental health by preventing the deleterious effects of chronic stressors, but marital status intersects with additional social statuses and a life course context in creating these modifying effects. In addition, research that does not consider both internalizing and externalizing mental health outcomes and comprehensively take time-stable confounds into account may present an incomplete depiction of the mental health consequences of stress and social arrangements.
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