Socioeconomic status and mental illness

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Socioeconomic status and mental illness

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Title: Socioeconomic status and mental illness
Author: Ng, Edwin; Muntaner, C.; Chung, H.; Eaton W.W.
Abstract: Socioeconomic status (SES) is a complex construct that is commonly used to understand mental health inequalities. SES refers to the social relations that determine what structural locations individuals or groups hold within society, which in turn influence the exposures, resources, and susceptibilities that produce mental health inequalities. The association between SES and mental health is one of the most firmly established patterns in psychiatric epidemiology – the most privileged and deprived tend to experience the best and worst mental health outcomes, respectively. Three major sociological traditions are relevant to understanding the causal processes through which SES determines the likelihood of developing a mental health disorder. The first tradition conceptualizes SES in terms of social stratification, or the ranking of individuals into groups based on shared socioeconomic conditions. The second uses a neo-Weberian perspective, and defines SES as being determined by social closure and opportunity hoarding, or the processes through which privileged groups restrict access to economic resources and opportunities while excluding others. The third reflects a neo-Marxist approach, and identifies SES with domination and exploitation, or the ability of owners of productive resources to control and benefit from the labor of workers.
Date: 2014

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