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Psychological Well-Being in the Early Life Course: Variations by Socioeconomic Status, Gender, and Race/Ethnicity

Jane D. McLeod and Timothy J. Owens
Social Psychology Quarterly
Vol. 67, No. 3 (Sep., 2004), pp. 257-278
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3649111
Page Count: 22
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Psychological Well-Being in the Early Life Course: Variations by Socioeconomic Status, Gender, and Race/Ethnicity
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Abstract

Our analysis focuses on the implications of social status characteristics for children's psychological well-being. Drawing on social evaluation theories and stress-based explanations, we hypothesized that disadvantage cumulates across statuses (the double jeopardy hypothesis) and over time as children move into the adolescent years. To test this hypothesis, we estimated the independent and interactive effects of socioeconomic status, gender, and race/ethnicity on the latent growth curves for four outcomes, from preadolescence to early adolescence, using data from the Children of the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth data set. Our results were consistent with the double jeopardy hypothesis for the interaction of race/ethnicity and poverty, but not for the other interactions we estimated. In the case of gender and poverty, the strength of the evidence for the double jeopardy hypothesis varied by outcome: evidence was more consistent for scholastic competence and self-esteem than for depression and hyperactivity. In the case of gender and race/ethnicity, our results consistently refuted the double jeopardy hypothesis.

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