In their important paper, Link and Phelan (1995) argue that socioeconomic status is a fundamental cause of variation in well-being and that the social resources associated with socioeconomic status constitute the fundamental cause of variation in well-being. In this article, I elaborate on the fundamental cause perspective in three respects: by suggesting an expansion of the definition of resources, by examining how race and gender influence variation in the relationship between resources and mental health, and by developing a model of the relationship between social class, race, and gender that takes account of the potential asymmetry in the influence of resources across race and gender. Using the 2003 National Health Interview Survey and ordinary least squares regression, I find that black and white men are significantly less depressed than black and white women. However, women accrue greater mental health advantage from marriage, home ownership, and education. African-American men experience less depression as a result of being unmarried and non-Hispanic white women experience less benefit from full-time employment, relative to African-American women and men. Results are discussed in terms of implications for future research on race, class, and gender differences in health.
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