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Sex differences in the effect of education on depression: Resource multiplication or resource substitution?

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  • Ross, Catherine E.
  • Mirowsky, John

Abstract

Does education improve psychological well-being more for one sex than for the other? Resource substitution theory hypothesizes that education improves well-being more for women, because socioeconomic disadvantage makes them depend more on education to achieve well-being. Resource multiplication implies the opposite, that education improves well-being more for men, because they get bigger labor market payoffs from it such as authority and earnings. Data from a 1995 survey of US adults with follow-ups in 1998 and 2001 support the resource substitution hypothesis. Depression decreases more steeply for women than for men as the level of education increases. The gender gap in depression essentially disappears among persons with a college degree or higher. Two mediating interactions appear to account for the convergence. Education increases work creativity more sharply for women than for men, thereby reducing depression. Education increases the sense of control for both sexes equally, but depression declines more steeply for women as sense of control increases. Growth curve analyses of depression vectors confirm the resource substitution pattern. The adulthood life course pattern of depression levels and changes depends more strongly on education for women than for men.

Suggested Citation

  • Ross, Catherine E. & Mirowsky, John, 2006. "Sex differences in the effect of education on depression: Resource multiplication or resource substitution?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(5), pages 1400-1413, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:63:y:2006:i:5:p:1400-1413
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    2. Bahadır Dursun & Resul Cesur, 2016. "Transforming lives: the impact of compulsory schooling on hope and happiness," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(3), pages 911-956, July.
    3. Christopher J. Holmes & Anna Zajacova, 2014. "Education as “the Great Equalizer”: Health Benefits for Black and White Adults," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1064-1085, December.
    4. Ross, Catherine E. & Mirowsky, John, 2011. "The interaction of personal and parental education on health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(4), pages 591-599, February.
    5. Terrence D. Hill & Hilary H. Cook & Keith E. Whitfield, 2014. "Race and Ethnic Variations in the Education-Control-Distress Model," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 95(1), pages 269-285, March.
    6. Schaan, Barbara, 2014. "The interaction of family background and personal education on depressive symptoms in later life," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 94-102.
    7. Liu, S.Y. & Walter, S. & Marden, J. & Rehkopf, D.H. & Kubzansky, L.D. & Nguyen, T. & Glymour, M.M., 2015. "Genetic vulnerability to diabetes and obesity: Does education offset the risk?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 150-158.
    8. Cohen, Alison K. & Rehkopf, David H. & Deardorff, Julianna & Abrams, Barbara, 2013. "Education and obesity at age 40 among American adults," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 34-41.
    9. Olaf von dem Knesebeck & Elise Pattyn & Piet Bracke, 2011. "Education and depressive symptoms in 22 European countries," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 56(1), pages 107-110, February.
    10. Kim, Jinyoung & Durden, Emily, 2007. "Socioeconomic status and age trajectories of health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(12), pages 2489-2502, December.
    11. Dustin Brown & Robert Hummer & Mark Hayward, 2014. "The Importance of Spousal Education for the Self-Rated Health of Married Adults in the United States," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 33(1), pages 127-151, February.
    12. Pieter Dudal & Piet Bracke, 2016. "Absolute and relative educational inequalities in depression in Europe," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 61(7), pages 787-795, September.
    13. Martin, Molly A. & Frisco, Michelle L. & Nau, Claudia & Burnett, Kristin, 2012. "Social stratification and adolescent overweight in the United States: How income and educational resources matter across families and schools," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(4), pages 597-606.
    14. Bauldry, Shawn, 2014. "Conditional health-related benefits of higher education: An assessment of compensatory versus accumulative mechanisms," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 94-100.
    15. Anna Zajacova & Katrina Walsemann & Jennifer Dowd, 2015. "The Long Arm of Adolescent Health Among Men and Women: Does Attained Status Explain Its Association with Mid-Adulthood Health?," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 34(1), pages 19-48, February.
    16. Van de Velde, Sarah & Bracke, Piet & Levecque, Katia, 2010. "Gender differences in depression in 23 European countries. Cross-national variation in the gender gap in depression," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 305-313, July.
    17. repec:gam:jscscx:v:7:y:2018:i:5:p:72-:d:143084 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Mandemakers, Jornt J. & Monden, Christiaan W.S., 2010. "Does education buffer the impact of disability on psychological distress?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 288-297, July.
    19. Bjelland, Ingvar & Krokstad, Steinar & Mykletun, Arnstein & Dahl, Alv A. & Tell, Grethe S. & Tambs, K., 2008. "Does a higher educational level protect against anxiety and depression? The HUNT study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(6), pages 1334-1345, March.
    20. Everett, Bethany G. & Hatzenbuehler, Mark L. & Hughes, Tonda L., 2016. "The impact of civil union legislation on minority stress, depression, and hazardous drinking in a diverse sample of sexual-minority women: A quasi-natural experiment," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 169(C), pages 180-190.
    21. Jennifer Karas Montez & Kaitlyn Barnes, 2016. "The Benefits of Educational Attainment for U.S. Adult Mortality: Are they Contingent on the Broader Environment?," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 35(1), pages 73-100, February.
    22. Ling Zhou & Huazhen Lin & Yi-Chen Lin, 2016. "Education, Intelligence, and Well-Being: Evidence from a Semiparametric Latent Variable Transformation Model for Multiple Outcomes of Mixed Types," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 125(3), pages 1011-1033, February.

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    Keywords

    USA Education SES Gender Depression;

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