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Low Socioeconomic Status and Mental Disorders: A Longitudinal Study of Selection and Causation during Young Adulthood1

University of Wisconsin‐MadisonUniversity of London and University of Wisconsin‐MadisonUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonUniversity of Otago Medical School

This article examines low socioeconomic staus (SES) as both a cause and a consequence of mental illnesses by investigating the mutual influence of mental disorders and educational attainment, a core element of SES. The analyses are based on a longitudinal panel design and focus on four disorders: anxiety, depression, antisocial disorder, and attention deficit disorder. The article shows that each disorder has a unique relationship with SES, highlighting the need for greater consideration of antisocial disorders in the status attainment process and for further theoretical development in the sociology of mental disorders to account for disorder‐specific relations with SES.