Explaining the link between low socioeconomic status and psychopathology: Testing two mechanisms of the social causation hypothesis

Martha E. Wadsworth, Thomas M. Achenbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

126 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two mechanisms of the hypothesized social causation of psychopathology - differential incidence and cumulative prevalence - were tested over 9 years in a nationally representative sample of 1,075 children and youths, ages 8-17 at Time 1 (1986). Analyses using parental responses on behavior checklists at 4 time points showed significant increases in clinical elevations for those of the lowest socioeconomic status (SES) on anxious/depressed, somatic complaints, thought problems, delinquent, and aggressive syndromes. This SES-linked differential incidence supports the social causation hypothesis that factors associated with SES contribute to variations in levels of psychological problems. SES-linked differential cumulative prevalence was found for withdrawn and somatic complaints; this finding indicates that low-SES cases do not improve as much as do middle- and high-SES cases, which results in greater accumulation of low-SES cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1146-1153
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of consulting and clinical psychology
Volume73
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Explaining the link between low socioeconomic status and psychopathology: Testing two mechanisms of the social causation hypothesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this