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Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(10), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8100086

Race, Intergenerational Social Mobility and Stressful Life Events

1,2,3,4
1
Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
2
BRITE Center for Science, Research and Policy, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
3
Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture, and Health (CRECH), School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA
4
Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, 4250 Plymouth Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2700, USA
Received: 3 August 2018 / Revised: 11 September 2018 / Accepted: 17 September 2018 / Published: 20 September 2018
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Abstract

Background. Socioeconomic status (SES) has smaller protective effects on the health of African Americans, and the differential association between social mobility and stress may explain the diminished returns of SES for African Americans. Aim. This study tested the race/ethnic differences in the association between upward and downward social mobility and stress in a nationally representative sample of African American and White American adults. Methods. This study included 3570 African Americans and 891 non-Hispanic White Americans from the National Survey of American Life (NSAL), 2003. Race/ethnicity, gender, age, upward and downward social mobility (independent variable, defined as difference between parent and respondent education), and stressful life events (SLE, dependent variable) were measured. Linear regression models were used for data analysis. Results. In the pooled sample that included both races, upward and downward social mobility were both associated with SLE, the net of all covariates. Significant interactions were found between race/ethnicity and social mobility, suggesting a stronger association between social mobility and stress for White Americans than for African Americans. According to race-stratified models, upward and downward social mobility were associated with higher SLE for White Americans but not African Americans. Conclusion. Although upwardly and downwardly mobile White Americans experience more stress than the socially stable White Americans, African Americans do not experience a change in SLE related to their intergenerational social mobility. View Full-Text
Keywords: African Americans; socioeconomic status (SES); social mobility; racism; perceived stress African Americans; socioeconomic status (SES); social mobility; racism; perceived stress
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Assari, S. Race, Intergenerational Social Mobility and Stressful Life Events. Behav. Sci. 2018, 8, 86.

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