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Influence of Individual and Contextual Perceptions and of Multiple Neighborhoods on Depression
Article

State-Level Income Inequality and County-Level Social Capital in Relation to Individual-Level Depression in Middle-Aged Adults: A Lagged Multilevel Study

Department of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115, USA
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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(15), 5386; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155386
Received: 12 June 2020 / Revised: 14 July 2020 / Accepted: 16 July 2020 / Published: 27 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social, Economic, and Environmental Determinants of Chronic Diseases)
In the US, the incidence of depression and suicide have followed escalating trends over the past several years. These trends call for greater efforts towards identifying their underlying drivers and finding effective prevention strategies and treatments. One social determinant of health that plausibly influences the risk of depression is income inequality, the gap between the rich and poor. However, research on this association is still sparse. We used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 and the US Census to investigate the multilevel lagged associations of state-level income inequality with the individual-level odds of depression in middle-aged adults, controlling for state- and individual-level factors. We also examined the independent associations of county-level social capital with depression and explored whether it mediated the income inequality relationship. Higher income inequality at the state level predicted higher odds of individual-level depression nearly 2 decades later [OR for middle vs. lowest tertile of income inequality = 1.35 (95% CI: 1.02, 1.76), OR for highest vs. lowest tertile = 1.34 (95% CI: 1.01, 1.78)]. This association was stronger among men than women. Furthermore, there was evidence that county-level social capital independently predicted depression and that it mediated the income inequality association. Overall, our findings suggest that policies attenuating levels of income inequality at the US state level and that leverage social capital may protect against one’s likelihood of developing depression. View Full-Text
Keywords: depression; income inequality; social capital; United States depression; income inequality; social capital; United States
MDPI and ACS Style

Dev, S.; Kim, D. State-Level Income Inequality and County-Level Social Capital in Relation to Individual-Level Depression in Middle-Aged Adults: A Lagged Multilevel Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 5386. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155386

AMA Style

Dev S, Kim D. State-Level Income Inequality and County-Level Social Capital in Relation to Individual-Level Depression in Middle-Aged Adults: A Lagged Multilevel Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(15):5386. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155386

Chicago/Turabian Style

Dev, Saloni, and Daniel Kim. 2020. "State-Level Income Inequality and County-Level Social Capital in Relation to Individual-Level Depression in Middle-Aged Adults: A Lagged Multilevel Study" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 15: 5386. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155386

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