January 30, 2018 at 2:10 pm

Miller Presents on Class, Race, and Depression

A smiling Dr. Paula Miller with buildings and brick walkway in background.

Dr. Paula Miller

Dr. Paula Miller, Assistant Professor of Sociology, presents with Dr. Bridget E. Weller, Associate Professor at Western Michigan University School of Social Work, on “Using Bourdieu ’s Theory of Capital to Develop Profiles of Class: An Application to Race and Depression” at the Eastern Sociological Society in February.

The purpose of the Eastern Sociological Society is to promote the advancement of sociological research, the effective teaching of sociology, the development of a more vital relationship between sociology and related disciplines, and a more adequate use of the methods and resources of the social sciences in dealing with social problems.

The theme of this year’s annual meeting is “As Time Goes By: Social and Institutional Change.”

Abstract: Research generally indicates that individuals from marginalized backgrounds have higher rates of depression compared to individuals from privileged backgrounds. This finding, however, does not consistently apply to the relationship between race and depression, when controlling for class. Specifically, African Americans and Hispanics consistently demonstrate lower rates of depression than whites, despite being more likely to be in marginalized class positions. Because of these conflictual findings, it is necessary to develop more nuanced profiles of class that explain the complex relationship between class, race, and depression. The purpose of this study was to build on the work of Bourdieu to identify profiles of class capital based on respondent’s cultural, economic, and social capital, and to examine how these profiles are associated with depression across racial groups. Three questions were addressed: 1) Do profiles of class capital exist among U.S. adults?, 2) Do profiles differ by race?, and 3) Are specific profiles associated with the likelihood of individuals will experience depression? This study analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, a nationally representative study of U.S. individuals. The sample was restricted to the 15,701 Black, White, and Hispanic respondents aged 24-32 who participated in Wave IV. Latent Class Analysis (LCA) was used to address questions one and two. Question three was addressed using logistic regression. Results suggest the presence of profiles of class based on cultural, economic, and social capital. These profiles had various racial composition and were differentially associated with depression.

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