Research in mental health: social etiology versus social consequences.
ABSTRACT 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.
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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 · 2.44 Impact Factor
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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.03/2012; 2(1):35-52. DOI:10.1177/2156869312442884
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ABSTRACT: We analyze data from the South African Stress and Health Study, a nationally representative in-person psychiatric epidemiologic survey of 4,351 adults conducted as part of the World Mental Health Survey Initiative between January 2002 and June 2004. All blacks (Africans, Coloreds, and Indians) initially report higher levels of non-specific distress and anger/hostility than whites. Access to socioeconomic resources helps explain differences in non-specific distress between Coloreds and whites and Indians and whites. However, only when social stressors are considered do we find few differences in psychological distress (i.e., non-specific distress and anger/hostility) between Africans and whites. In addition, self-esteem and mastery have independent effects on non-specific distress and anger/hostility, but differences between Coloreds and whites in feelings of anger/hostility are not completely explained by self-esteem and mastery. The findings contribute to the international body of work on social stress theory, challenge underlying assumptions of the minority status perspective, and raise a series of questions regarding mental health disparities among South Africans.Journal of Health and Social Behavior 12/2010; 51(4):458-77. DOI:10.1177/0022146510386795 · 2.72 Impact Factor