Many of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States and other countries are associated with socioeconomic position. The least well-off suffer a disproportionate share of the burden of disease, including depression, obesity, and diabetes. Research suggests that the adverse effects of economic hardship on both mental and physical health and functioning are evident at young ages and persist across the lifecourse. Moreover, these associations are seen across cultures. Data from four large epidemiologic studies on the role of psychological characteristics, social factors, and behaviors in health and disease risk are presented that highlight the striking associations between socioeconomic factors and chronic diseases. Data from these studies demonstrate that the effects of economic disadvantage are cumulative, with the greatest risk of poor mental and physical health seen among those who experienced sustained hardship over time.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Supported by grants HL44199, AG11375, and HD35120 and by a Faculty Research Grant from the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Michigan. This article is based on a presentation made at a conference entitled Depression and Mental Disorders in Patients with Diabetes, Renal Disease, and Obesity/Eating Disorders, sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the National Institutes of Mental Health, and the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, January 29–30, 2001.
Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
- Social class