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Uncovering Profiles of Economic, Social, and Cultural Capital to Explore Depression Across Racial Groups

Abstract

Research exploring the association between socio-economic status (SES) and depression is limited by conceptualizations of SES and conflicting findings across racial groups. We broaden previous research by (1) reconceptualizing SES through the lens of Bourdieusian theory to identify profiles of economic, social, and cultural capital; (2) investigating whether these profiles differ for Black and white adults; and (3) exploring whether specific profiles of capital are associated with increased depression scores. This study analyzed secondary data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, a nationally representative sample of US individuals. A sub-population of the sample was used, which was comprised of 4339 Black and white participants from wave IV. To address the study aims, we used the new three-step approach to conducting latent class analysis. We identified five profiles of capital, the composition of which varied by race. Compared to Blacks, whites were more likely to be in the “cultural-economic capital” (14% vs. 10%), “elevated overall capital” (35% vs. 14%), and “social-economic capital” (13% vs. 10%) profiles, whereas Blacks were more likely to be in the “limited overall capital” (35% vs. 16%) and “moderate economic capital” (32% vs 22%) profiles. Profiles differed in risk for depression; the “limited overall capital” profile had the highest depression scores, whereas the “elevated overall capital” profile had the lowest depression scores. This research has the potential to reduce health disparities, by providing policy makers and researchers with information that will allow them to target populations that are most at risk for depression.

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Notes

  1. Throughout the manuscript, we have chosen to capitalize “Black” and not to capitalize “white” consistent with recent debates in critical race theory that propose that Black should be capitalized to represent Blacks shared experiences as members of an ethnic group, whereas white should not. For more information on this debate see Touré. Who’s Afraid of Post-blackness?: What it Means to be Black Now. New York, NY: Free Press; 2011.

  2. Interchangeably referred to as either non-Hispanic Black and non-Hispanic white or Black and white throughout the rest of the manuscript.

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Appendix

Appendix

This presents selected results from the sensitivity analyses. We ran a number of other models. We, however, are only presenting the results from a few of these models because the other models were more exploratory. The presented models have conceptual support. Results in Table 5 are from the step-one of LCA. All models accounted for the complex sampling design by including sampling weights and clustering.

Table 5 Selected sensitivity analyses results

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Miller, P.K., Weller, B.E. Uncovering Profiles of Economic, Social, and Cultural Capital to Explore Depression Across Racial Groups. J. Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities 6, 1167–1181 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40615-019-00618-4

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Keywords

  • Capital
  • Depression
  • Health disparities
  • Latent class analysis (LCA)
  • Race
  • Socio-economic status (SES)