Class relations, economic inequality and mental health: Why social class matters to the sociology of mental health

Carles Muntaner, Carme Borrell, Haejoo Chung

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

13 Citations (Scopus)


Psychiatric epidemiologists were among the first scientists to document that the poor suffer from a higher rate of mental disorders than the affluent. Mental health and, more precisely, psychiatric research have propelled many studies on economic inequality and mental disorders which reflect the humanistic concerns of psychiatrists. These studies are motivated by a desire to improve the living conditions of workers, immigrants, and racial or ethnic minorities (e.g., Blazer, Kessler, McGonagle, & Swartz, 1994; Eaton, Buka, Addington, Bass, Brown, Cherker-zian, Forman-Hoffman, Gilbert, Hayden, Jain, Lehrer, Martin, Mielke, Norberg, Thomas, & Yu, 2004; Jacobi, Wittchen, Hölting, Höfler, Pfister, Müller, & Lieb, 2004; Lahelma, Martikainen, Rahkonen, Roos, & Saastamoinen, 2005; Regier, Boyd, Burke, Rae, Myers, Kramer, Robins, George, Karno, & Locke, 1988; Roberts & Lee, 1993). The absence or poor quality of psychiatric care for poor working class, immigrant, or racial and ethnic minority populations (Alegria, Bijl, Lin,Walters, & Kessler, 2000; Cohen, Houck, Szanto, Dew, Gilman, & Reynolds, 2006; Muntaner, Wolyniec, McGrath, & Pulver, 1995) raise a related set of concerns about the implications of economic inequality for the treatment of mental disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMental Health, Social Mirror
PublisherSpringer US
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)038736319X, 9780387363196
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Dec 1
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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