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Social Class, Mental Illness, and Social Mobility: The Social Selection-Drift Hypothesis for Serious Mental Illness

John W. Fox
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 31, No. 4 (Dec., 1990), pp. 344-353
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2136818
Page Count: 10
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Social Class, Mental Illness, and Social Mobility: The Social Selection-Drift Hypothesis for Serious Mental Illness
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Abstract

The assumptions and methods of previous studies of the social selection-drift hypothesis for serious mental illness are examined by using contemporary log-linear methods for social mobility analysis. The null hypothesis of no difference in intergenerational social mobility between seriously mentally ill and general population control groups cannot be rejected in previous studies by Birtchnell (1971), Goldberg and Morrison (1963), Langner and Michael (1963), and Turner and Wagenfeld (1967). The findings of this study suggest that previous empirical support for intergenerational social mobility differences is an artifact of not controlling for group differences in origins and destinations when collapsed origin-by-destination tables are analyzed. This study suggests that intergenerational social mobility differences between seriously mentally ill and general population groups in previous studies provide very little, if any, empirical support for social selection-drift processes in serious mental illness.

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