Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: The Childhood Family Income Effects on Early Adulthood Depression: The Black-White Differences in the Mediation Process

Friday, November 13, 2015 : 1:30 PM
Tuttle Prefunction (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Kiwoong Park and Young Joo Park, University at Albany - SUNY
The main purpose of this study is to examine the racially patterned mechanisms linking childhood family income and adult depression. Based on the stress proliferation concept and social reproduction theory, this research tests the roles of three mediators in childhood (social support, mistreated experience, and neighborhood safety) and three mediators in adulthood (mastery, current family income, and higher education attainment) using Add-Health Waves I and IV restricted data (N= 7,501). Comparing direct/indirect effects of childhood family income with mediation analysis (KHB) method, this study tries to unravel the complex relationship between SES, race, and depression. The findings suggest two black-white differences in the mediation process. First, in childhood, the family income effect through social support among whites decreases the odds of depression, while the indirect effect of family income through social support among blacks significantly increases the chance of depression in adult. Second, whites’ higher educational attainment in adulthood strongly mediates the childhood family income effects on adult depression, which was not observed in blacks. These results imply that we need to pay attention to racial differential pathways linking childhood family economic resources and mental health in adulthood.

Keywords: Stress-process model, Adult depression (CES-D), Childhood family income, Black-white differences, Mediation analysis (KHB method)