Mental Health in Socioeconomic Contexts
Primary research questions:
1. Is poverty related to risk for MI?
2. Directionality: Which comes first?
3. What factors explain the relationship?
Typically includes education,
job status and/or income...
but may be defined by zip code,
number of electrical appliances,
access to tap water, etc.
Is poverty related to risk for MI?
Yes - on average, about 3X more MI
in low-SES communities in U.S. and
Does this mean poverty leads to
No - "poverty presents risk factors that
may exacerbate mental illness"
Directionality: Which comes first?
It's complicated, and bi-directional
Poverty has been shown
to come first in decades of research
Hudson's (2005) large scale study
Developmental literature emphasizes
the accumulation of risk factors before MI is present
What explains the relationship?
Insecurity (lack of stability and
continuation of livelihood, lack of safety)
Social factors (weakening family ties, lack
of social support, etc.)
Lack of education
Risks of violence and health problems
Is high SES a risk factor?
Research is preliminary, but several studies have linked high affluence in teens to risk for: