Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

, Volume 6, Issue 6, pp 1167–1181 | Cite as

Uncovering Profiles of Economic, Social, and Cultural Capital to Explore Depression Across Racial Groups

  • Paula K. MillerEmail author
  • Bridget E. Weller


Research exploring the association between socio-economic status (SES) and depression is limited by conceptualizations of SES and conflicting findings across racial groups. We broaden previous research by (1) reconceptualizing SES through the lens of Bourdieusian theory to identify profiles of economic, social, and cultural capital; (2) investigating whether these profiles differ for Black and white adults; and (3) exploring whether specific profiles of capital are associated with increased depression scores. This study analyzed secondary data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, a nationally representative sample of US individuals. A sub-population of the sample was used, which was comprised of 4339 Black and white participants from wave IV. To address the study aims, we used the new three-step approach to conducting latent class analysis. We identified five profiles of capital, the composition of which varied by race. Compared to Blacks, whites were more likely to be in the “cultural-economic capital” (14% vs. 10%), “elevated overall capital” (35% vs. 14%), and “social-economic capital” (13% vs. 10%) profiles, whereas Blacks were more likely to be in the “limited overall capital” (35% vs. 16%) and “moderate economic capital” (32% vs 22%) profiles. Profiles differed in risk for depression; the “limited overall capital” profile had the highest depression scores, whereas the “elevated overall capital” profile had the lowest depression scores. This research has the potential to reduce health disparities, by providing policy makers and researchers with information that will allow them to target populations that are most at risk for depression.


Capital Depression Health disparities Latent class analysis (LCA) Race Socio-economic status (SES) 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Both authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.


  1. 1.
    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 17-5044, NSDUH Series H-52) Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Retrieved on February 8, 2019 (
  2. 2.
    Wolff J, de-Shalit A. Disadvantage. Oxford political theory. New York: Oxford University Press; 2007.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Brown TN, Donato KM, Laske MT, Duncan EM. Race, nativity, ethnicity, and cultural influences in the sociology of mental health. In C. S. Aneshensel, J. C. Phelan, & A. Bierman (Eds.), Handbooks of sociology and social research. Handbook of the sociology of mental health (pp. 255–276). New York, NY, US: Springer Science + Business Media.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hudson DL, Puterman E, Bibbins-Domingo K, Matthews KA, Adler NE. Race, life course socioeconomic position, racial discrimination, depressive symptoms and self-rated health. Soc Sci Med. 2013;97:7–14.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bourdieu P. The forms of capital (1986). In: Szeman I, Kaposy T, editors. Cultural theory: an anthology. West Sussex: John Wiley and Sons; 2011. p. 81–93.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Breslau J, Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Kendler KS, Su M, Williams D, Kessler RC. Specifying race-ethnic differences in risk for psychiatric disorder in a USA national sample. Psychol Med. 2006;36(01):57–68.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kessler RC, Chiu WT, Demler O, Walters EE. Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of 12-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2005;62(6):617–27.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Barnes DM, Keyes KM, Bates LM. Racial differences in depression in the United States: how do subgroup analyses inform a paradox? Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2013;48(12):1941–9. Scholar
  9. 9.
    Assari S, Lankarani M, Caldwell C. Does discrimination explain high risk of depression among high-income African American men? Behav Sci. 2018;8(4):40.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Assari S. Unequal gain of equal resources across racial groups. Int J Health Policy Manag. 2018;7(1):1.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Assari S. Health disparities due to diminished return among black Americans: public policy solutions. Soc Issues Policy Rev. 2018;12(1):112–45.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hudson DL, Bullard KM, Neighbors HW, Geronimus AT, Yang J, Jackson JS. Are benefits conferred with greater socioeconomic position undermined by racial discrimination among African American men? J Men's Health. 2012;9(2):127–36.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Sellers SL, Neighbors HW. Effects of goal-striving stress on the mental health of black Americans. J Health Soc Behav. 2008;49(1):92–103.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Oakes JM, Rossi PH. The measurement of SES in health research: current practice and steps toward a new approach. Soc Sci Med. 2003;56(4):769–84.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Scharoun-Lee M, Gordon-Larsen P, Adair LS, Popkin BM, Kaufman JS, Suchindran CM. Intergenerational profiles of socioeconomic (dis) advantage and obesity during the transition to adulthood. Demography. 2011;48(2):625–51.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Abel T. Cultural capital and social inequality in health. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2008;62(7):e13.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Veenstra G. Social space, social class and Bourdieu: health inequalities in British Columbia, Canada. Health Place. 2007;13(1):14–31.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Lorant V, Deliège D, Eaton W, Robert A, Philippot P, Ansseau M. Socioeconomic inequalities in depression: a meta-analysis. Am J Epidemiol. 2003;157(2):98–112.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Fiscella K, Franks P, Doescher MP, Saver BG. Disparities in health care by race, ethnicity, and language among the insured: findings from a national sample. Health Care. 2002;40(1):52–9.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Pearlin LI, Schieman S, Fazio EM, Meersman SC. Stress, health, and the life course: some conceptual perspectives. J Health Soc Behav. 2005;46(2):205–19. Scholar
  21. 21.
    Fryers T, Melzer D, Jenkins R. Social inequalities and the common mental disorders. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2003;38(5):229–37.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Zimmerman FJ, Katon W. Socioeconomic status, depression disparities, and financial strain: what lies behind the income-depression relationship. Health Econ. 2005;14(12):1197–215. Scholar
  23. 23.
    Ross CE. Neighborhood disadvantage and adult depression. J Health Soc Behav. 2000;41(2):177–87.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Thoits PA. Mechanisms linking social ties and support to physical and mental health. J Health Soc Behav. 2011;52(2):145–61.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Frech A, Williams K. Depression and the psychological benefits of entering marriage. J Health Soc Behav. 2007;48(2):149–63.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Maselko J, Hayward RD, Hanlon A, Buka S, Meador K. Religious service attendance and major depression: a case of reverse causality? Am J Epidemiol. 2012;175(6):576–83.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Thoits PA, Hewitt LN. Volunteer work and well-being. J Health Soc Behav. 2001;42:115–31.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Barber BK, Stolz HE, Olsen JA, Collins WA, Burchinal M. Parental support, psychological control, and behavioral control: assessing relevance across time, culture, and method. Monogr Soc Res Child Dev. 2005;70(4):i–147.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Cuypers K, Krokstad S, Holmen TL, Knudtsen MS, Bygren LO, Holmen J. Patterns of receptive and creative cultural activities and their association with perceived health, anxiety, depression and satisfaction with life among adults: the HUNT study, Norway. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2012;66(8):698–703.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Swidler A. Culture in action: symbols and strategies. Am Sociol Rev. 1986;51(2):273–86. Scholar
  31. 31.
    Baumeister RF. Self-esteem: the puzzle of low self-regard. Springer Science & Business Media: New York; 2013.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Ross CE, Mirowsky J. Sex differences in the effect of education on depression: resource multiplication or resource substitution? Soc Sci Med. 2006;63(5):1400–13.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Klein DN, Kotov R, Bufferd SJ. Personality and depression: explanatory models and review of the evidence. Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 2011;7:269–95.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Ehlinger PP, Blashill AJ. Self-perceived vs actual physical attractiveness: associations with depression as a function of sexual orientation. J Affect Disord. 2016;189:70–6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Anderson C, John OP, Keltner D, Kring AM. Who attains social status? Effects of personality and physical attractiveness in social groups. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2001;81(1):116–3.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Williams DR, Sternthal M. Understanding racial-ethnic disparities in health: sociological contributions. J Health Soc Behav. 2010;51(1 supplement):S15–27. Scholar
  37. 37.
    Williams DR, Neighbors HW, Jackson JS. Racial/ethnic discrimination and health: findings from community studies. Am J Public Health. 2003;93(2):200–8.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Case A, Deaton A. Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2015;112(49):15078–83.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Assari S, Nikahd A, Malekahmadi MR, Lankarani MM, Zamanian H. Race by gender group differences in the protective effects of socioeconomic factors against sustained health problems across five domains. J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2017;4(5):884–94.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Pickett KE, Wilkinson RG. People like us: ethnic group density effects on health. Ethn Health. 2008;13(4):321–34.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Mitchell CU, LaGory M. Social capital and mental distress in an impoverished community. City Community. 2002;1(2):199–222.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Bonilla-Silva E. Racism without racists: color-blind racism and the persistence of racial inequality in America. Fourth ed. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.; 2014.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Cottom TM. Thick: and other essays. New York: The New Press; 2018.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Orfield G, Lee C. Why segregation matters: poverty and educational inequality. In: Civil Rights Project at Harvard University, editor. Cambridge: MA; 2005.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Assari S. Combined racial and gender differences in the long-term predictive role of education on depressive symptoms and chronic medical conditions. J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2017;4(3):385–96.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Yosso TJ. Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth. Race Ethn Educ. 2005;8(1):69–91.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Harris KM, Udry JR. National longitudinal study of adolescent to adult health (add health), 1994-2008 [public use]. Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) 2014.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Eaton WW, Smith C, Ybarra M, Muntaner C, Tien A. Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale: review and revision (CESD and CESD-R). In: Maruish ME, editor. The use of psychological testing for treatment planning and outcomes assessment: instruments for adults. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers; 2004. p. 363–77.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Van Dam NT, Earleywine M. Validation of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale—Revised (CESD-R): pragmatic depression assessment in the general population. Psychiatry Res. 2011;186(1):128–32.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Gotlib IH, Lewinsohn PM, Seeley JR. Symptoms versus a diagnosis of depression: differences in psychosocial functioning. J Consult Clin Psychol. 1995;63(1):90–100.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Sclar DA, Robison LM, Skaer TL. Ethnicity/race and the diagnosis of depression and use of antidepressants by adults in the United States. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2008;23(2):106–9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Neighbors HW, Woodward AT, Bullard KM, Ford BC, Taylor RJ, Jackson JS. Mental health service use among older African Americans: the National Survey of American Life. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2008;16(12):948–56.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Brown C, Conner KO, Copeland VC, Grote N, Beach S, Battista D, et al. Depression stigma, race, and treatment seeking behavior and attitudes. J Community Psychol. 2010;38(3):350–68.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Conner KO, Copeland VC, Grote NK, Koeske G, Rosen D, Reynolds CF III, et al. Mental health treatment seeking among older adults with depression: the impact of stigma and race. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2010;18(6):531–43.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Uebelacker LA, Strong D, Weinstock LM, Miller IW. Use of item response theory to understand differential functioning of DSM-IV major depression symptoms by race, ethnicity and gender. Psychol Med. 2009;39(4):591–601.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Perreira KM, Deeb-Sossa N, Harris KM, Bollen K. What are we measuring? An evaluation of the CES-D across race/ethnicity and immigrant generation. Soc Forces. 2005;83(4):1567–601.Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Mirowsky J, Ross CE. Age and depression. J Health Soc Behav. 1992;33:187–205.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Muthén B, Muthén LK. Integrating person-centered and variable-centered analyses: growth mixture modeling with latent trajectory classes. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2000;24(6):882–91.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Asparouhov T, Muthén B. Auxiliary variables in mixture modeling: three-step approaches using M plus. Struct Equ Model Multidiscip J. 2014;21(3):329–41.Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Zhou M, Thayer WM, Bridges JF. Using latent class analysis to model preference heterogeneity in health: a systematic review. PharmacoEconomics. 2018;36(2):175–87.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Nylund KL, Asparouhov T, Muthén BO. Deciding on the number of classes in latent class analysis and growth mixture modeling: a Monte Carlo simulation study. Struct Equ Model. 2007;14(4):535–69.Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Nagin DS, Land KC. Age, criminal careers, and population heterogeneity: specification and estimation of a nonparametric, mixed Poisson model. Criminology. 1993;31(3):327–62.Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Weden MM, Zabin LS. Gender and ethnic differences in the co-occurrence of adolescent risk behaviors. Ethn Health. 2005;10(3):213–34.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Celeux G, Soromenho G. An entropy criterion for assessing the number of clusters in a mixture model. J Classif. 1996;13(2):195–212.Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    Muthén BO. What is a good value of entropy discussion. 2018. Accessed February 10 2019.
  66. 66.
    Muthén BO. Comment from January 29, 2016 at 11:05 am. In: LCA and Sampling Weights Discussion. 2016. Accessed February 10 2019.
  67. 67.
    Vermunt JK. Latent class modeling with covariates: two improved three-step approaches. Polit Anal. 2010;18(4):450–69.Google Scholar
  68. 68.
    Nylund-Gibson K, Masyn KE. Covariates and mixture modeling: results of a simulation study exploring the impact of misspecified effects on class enumeration. Struct Equ Model Multidiscip J. 2016;23(6):782–97.Google Scholar
  69. 69.
    Muthén LK, Muthén BO. Mplus user’s guide (Vol. eighth edition). Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén; (1998-2018).Google Scholar
  70. 70.
    Muthén B, Muthén LK, Asparouhov T. Estimator choices with categorical outcomes. 2015. Accessed February 10 2019.
  71. 71.
    Wurpts IC, Geiser C. Is adding more indicators to a latent class analysis beneficial or detrimental? Results of a Monte-Carlo study. Front Psychol. 2014;5:920.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  72. 72.
    Jung M-K. Beneath the surface of white supremacy: denaturalizing US racisms past and present. Stanford: Stanford University Press; 2015.Google Scholar
  73. 73.
    Oliver ML, Shapiro TM. Black wealth, white wealth: a new perspective on racial inequality. 10th anniversary ed. New York: Routledge; 2006.Google Scholar
  74. 74.
    Musick MA, Wilson J, Bynum WB Jr. Race and formal volunteering: the differential effects of class and religion. Soc Forces. 2000;78(4):1539–70.Google Scholar
  75. 75.
    Assari S. Race and ethnicity, religion involvement, church-based social support and subjective health in United States: a case of moderated mediation. Int J Prev Med. 2013;4(2):208–17.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  76. 76.
    Taylor RJ, Chatters LM, Woodward AT, Brown E. Racial and ethnic differences in extended family, friendship, fictive kin, and congregational informal support networks. Fam Relat. 2013;62(4):609–24.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  77. 77.
    Raley RK, Sweeney MM, Wondra D. The growing racial and ethnic divide in US marriage patterns. The Future of children/Center for the Future of Children, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. 2015;25(2):89.Google Scholar
  78. 78.
    Link BG, Phelan J. Social conditions as fundamental causes of disease. J Health Soc Behav. 1995;35:80–94.Google Scholar
  79. 79.
    Aneshensel CS, Phelan JC, Bierman A. The sociology of mental health: surveying the field. Handbook of the sociology of mental health. New York: Springer; 2013. p. 1–19.Google Scholar
  80. 80.
    Phelan JC, Link BG, Tehranifar P. Social conditions as fundamental causes of health inequalities: theory, evidence, and policy implications. J Health Soc Behav. 2010;51(1 supplement):S28–40. Scholar
  81. 81.
    Hagenaars JA, McCutcheon AL. Applied latent class analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2002.Google Scholar
  82. 82.
    Choo HY, Ferree MM. Practicing intersectionality in sociological research: a critical analysis of inclusions, interactions, and institutions in the study of inequalities. Sociol Theory. 2010;28(2):129–49.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© W. Montague Cobb-NMA Health Institute 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyOhio UniversityAthensUSA
  2. 2.School of Social WorkWestern Michigan UniversityKalamazooUSA

Personalised recommendations