Perceived social status and mental health among young adolescents: Evidence from census data to cellphones

Joshua G. Rivenbark, William E. Copeland, Erin K. Davisson, Anna Gassman-Pines, Rick H. Hoyle, Joy R. Piontak, Michael A. Russell, Ann T. Skinner, Candice L. Odgers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Adolescents in the United States live amid high levels of concentrated poverty and increasing income inequality. Poverty is robustly linked to adolescents' mental health problems; however, less is known about how perceptions of their social status and exposure to local area income inequality relate to mental health. Participants consisted of a population-representative sample of over 2,100 adolescents (ages 10-16), 395 of whom completed a 14-day ecological momentary assessment (EMA) study. Participants' subjective social status (SSS) was assessed at the start of the EMA, and mental health symptoms were measured both at baseline for the entire sample and daily in the EMA sample. Adolescents' SSS tracked family, school, and neighborhood economic indicators (|r| ranging from .12 to .30), and associations did not differ by age, race, or gender. SSS was independently associated with mental health, with stronger associations among older (ages 14-16) versus younger (ages 10-13) adolescents. Adolescents with lower SSS reported higher psychological distress and inattention problems, as well as more conduct problems, in daily life. Those living in areas with higher income inequality reported significantly lower subjective social status, but this association was explained by family and neighborhood income. Findings illustrate that adolescents' SSS is correlated with both internalizing and externalizing mental health problems, and that by age 14 it becomes a unique predictor of mental health problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)574-585
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Volume55
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019

Fingerprint

Censuses
social status
Mental Health
census
mental health
adolescent
evidence
income
Poverty
Social Perception
poverty
Economics
Psychology
gender
Population
Ecological Momentary Assessment
school
economics

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

Cite this

Rivenbark, J. G., Copeland, W. E., Davisson, E. K., Gassman-Pines, A., Hoyle, R. H., Piontak, J. R., ... Odgers, C. L. (2019). Perceived social status and mental health among young adolescents: Evidence from census data to cellphones. Developmental psychology, 55(3), 574-585. https://doi.org/10.1037/dev0000551
Rivenbark, Joshua G. ; Copeland, William E. ; Davisson, Erin K. ; Gassman-Pines, Anna ; Hoyle, Rick H. ; Piontak, Joy R. ; Russell, Michael A. ; Skinner, Ann T. ; Odgers, Candice L. / Perceived social status and mental health among young adolescents : Evidence from census data to cellphones. In: Developmental psychology. 2019 ; Vol. 55, No. 3. pp. 574-585.
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Rivenbark, JG, Copeland, WE, Davisson, EK, Gassman-Pines, A, Hoyle, RH, Piontak, JR, Russell, MA, Skinner, AT & Odgers, CL 2019, 'Perceived social status and mental health among young adolescents: Evidence from census data to cellphones', Developmental psychology, vol. 55, no. 3, pp. 574-585. https://doi.org/10.1037/dev0000551

Perceived social status and mental health among young adolescents : Evidence from census data to cellphones. / Rivenbark, Joshua G.; Copeland, William E.; Davisson, Erin K.; Gassman-Pines, Anna; Hoyle, Rick H.; Piontak, Joy R.; Russell, Michael A.; Skinner, Ann T.; Odgers, Candice L.

In: Developmental psychology, Vol. 55, No. 3, 01.03.2019, p. 574-585.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Rivenbark JG, Copeland WE, Davisson EK, Gassman-Pines A, Hoyle RH, Piontak JR et al. Perceived social status and mental health among young adolescents: Evidence from census data to cellphones. Developmental psychology. 2019 Mar 1;55(3):574-585. https://doi.org/10.1037/dev0000551