Impact of the gap between socioeconomic stratum and subjective social class on depressive symptoms: Unique insights from a longitudinal analysis

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Abstract

Our objective was to investigate whether gaps between socioeconomic stratum and subjective social class affect the prevalence of depressive symptoms. We collected data from the Korean Health Panel Survey, years 2009 and 2011, and performed a longitudinal analysis of 12,357 individuals at baseline (2009), estimating the prevalence of depressive symptoms among individuals with disparate socioeconomic stratum (High, Middle, or Low household income and education level, respectively) and subjective social class (High, Middle, or Low). The odds ratio for depressive symptoms among individuals with High household income and High social class, or Low household income and Low social class, was 0.537 and 1.877, respectively (p < 0.0001), and that among individuals with High education level and High social class, or Low education and Low social class, was 0.700 and 1.597, respectively (p: 0.001, p < 0.0001, respectively). The likelihood of having depressive symptoms increased within each level of income and education, as the subjective social class decreased from High to Low. The adjusted effect of the gap between socioeconomic stratum and subjective social class on depressive symptoms deteriorated, as a whole, across the socioeconomic spectrum. The gap between socioeconomic stratum and perceived position in the social hierarchy explains a substantial part of inequalities in the prevalence of depressive symptoms. It is important to consider the impact of discrepancies between different measures of socioeconomic well-being on depressive symptoms rather than looking at the subjective social class alone.

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Kim, J. H., Lee, S. G., Shin, J., & Park, E. C. (2014). Impact of the gap between socioeconomic stratum and subjective social class on depressive symptoms: Unique insights from a longitudinal analysis. Social Science and Medicine, 120, 49–56. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.09.001

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