Social class and health

Relational social class and health

How does capitalism make us anxious and depressed? My work explores how the social division and structure of labor influences population mental health. I draw on social theory to better operationalize social factors as dynamic relational processes rather than individual attributes. Social epidemiology's traditional measures of socioeconomic status, like income and education, are the downstream outcomes of dynamic social processes, and do not shed light on the mechanisms generating social stratification in the first place. My work looks upstream to such mechanisms, specifically economic exploitation and domination. My research finds that _unconcealed exploitation_ (not being paid for productive hours) is associated with mental illness; that people in _contradictory class locations_ suffer higher rates of depression and anxiety; and that occupations with lower autonomy, authority, and expertise, and higher automation, are associated with mental illness and substance use.

"The Serpent of Their Agonies": Exploitation As Structural Determinant of Mental Illness

Relational Social Class, Self-Rated Health, and Mortality in the United States

The Disciplining Effect of Mass Incarceration on Labor Organization

Previous research has described the criminal justice system as a “labor market institution.” In recent years, however, research on the relationship between the criminal justice system and the labor market has focused primarily on the negative impact …

Mental Illness, Drinking, and the Social Division and Structure of Labor in the United States: 2003-2015

BACKGROUND: We draw on a relational theoretical perspective to investigate how the social division and structure of labor are associated with serious and moderate mental illness and binge and heavy drinking. METHODS: The Panel Study of Income …

Social Sequencing to Determine Patterns in Health and Work-Family Trajectories for U.S. Women, 1968-2013

Background: Women's social roles (partnership, parenthood, and worker status) are associated with health, with more roles being associated with lower mortality rates. Few studies have examined social roles using a lifecourse perspective to understand …

Unequal Depression for Equal Work? How the Wage Gap Explains Gendered Disparities in Mood Disorders

Mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety, are more prevalent among women than men. This disparity may be partially due to the effects of structural gender discrimination in the work force, which acts to perpetuate gender differences in …

Anxious? Depressed? You Might Be Suffering from Capitalism: Contradictory Class Locations and the Prevalence of Depression and Anxiety in the USA

Despite a well-established social gradient for many mental disorders, there is evidence that individuals near the middle of the social hierarchy suffer higher rates of depression and anxiety than those at the top or bottom. Although prevailing …

Social Class and Mental Health: Testing Exploitation as a Relational Determinant of Depression

This study tests whether social class exploitation operates as a relational mechanism that generates mental health inequalities in the nursing home industry. We ask, does social class exploitation (i.e., the acquisition of economic benefits from the …

Two Decades of Neo-Marxist Class Analysis and Health Inequalities: A Critical Reconstruction

Most population health researchers conceptualize social class as a set of attributes and material conditions of life of individuals. The empiricist tradition of 'class as an individual attribute' equates class to an 'observation', precluding the …