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Socioeconomic Status Differences in Vulnerability to Undesirable Life Events
Jane D. McLeod and Ronald C. Kessler
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 31, No. 2 (Jun., 1990), pp. 162-172
Published by: American Sociological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2137170
Page Count: 11
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Life events, Socioeconomic status, Psychological stress, Workforce, Depressive disorders, Social interaction, Social psychology, Coefficients, Social behavior, Psychometrics
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Previous research has documented consistently that persons holding low-socioeconomic status (SES) positions are more strongly affected emotionally by undesirable life events than are their higher-status counterparts. Two types of resources have been implicated in this differential vulnerability: financial resources and a broader class of coping resources, including social support and resilient personality characteristics. We present an analysis that disaggregates measure of life events and of SES to identify which events and which components of SES are most important for understanding differential vulnerability. We document that the lower-SES vulnerability persists across all types of personal events. In addition, we find that differential vulnerability is not confined to income but extends to education and occupational status as well. On the basis of these patterns, we conclude that differential vulnerability reflects more than a simple economic reality. Previous research offers speculative evidence that status differences in past and current social environments may explain differential vulnerability, especially through their effects on the socialization of resilient personality characteristics. We propose future research that could help to evaluate the validity of these speculations.
Journal of Health and Social Behavior © 1990 American Sociological Association