This paper assesses the hypothesis that depressive syndrome is associated with socioeconomic status, using longitudinal data from the Baltimore Epidemiologic Catchment Area Followup. Socioeconomic measures include those used in most studies of status attainment, as well as measures of financial dependence, non-job income, and work environment. Analyses include inter- and intra- generational mobility, and replicate the basic aspects of the status attainment process, as well as psychiatric epidemiologic findings regarding gender, family history of depression, life events, and depressive syndrome. But the involvement of depressive syndrome in the process of status attainment, either as cause or consequence, is small and not statistically significant. There are strong effects of financial dependence and work environment on depressive syndrome. The findings shed doubt on the utility of the causation/selection/drift model for depression, to the extent it is based on linear relationships and socioeconomic rank at the macro level, while lending credibility to social-psychologically oriented theories of work environment, poverty, and depression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health