A joint project of the Graduate School, Peabody College, and the Jean & Alexander Heard Library

Title page for ETD etd-07202016-100346

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Hope, Ashleigh Rene
Author's Email Address Ashleigh.R.Hope@Vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-07202016-100346
Title Depressive Symptoms and Household Income: The Consequences of Perceived Financial Strain in the Transition to Adulthood
Degree Master of Arts
Department Sociology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
C. André Christie-Mizell, Ph.D. Committee Chair
Lijun Song, Ph.D. Committee Member
  • Depressive Symptoms
  • Household Income
  • Perceived financial strain
  • Transition to Adulthood
Date of Defense 2016-06-15
Availability unrestricted
This paper examines the relationships among household income, perceived financial strain and depressive symptoms in the transition to adulthood. To assess these relationships, twelve years (2000-2012) of representative data over seven waves are extracted from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth – Young Adult Sample (N = 6,726; Observations = 18,379; Age range = 18 to 35 years). Utilizing life course theory and the cumulative disadvantages hypothesis, I found that perceived financial strain weakens the beneficial, decreasing impact of household income on depressive symptoms. Moreover, the joint effects of perceived financial strain and household income on depressive symptoms vary by age. Across levels of income (i.e., high income, mean income, low income), perceived financial strain dilutes the helpful benefits of high income such that perceptions of economic hardship similarly impacts individuals regardless of actual income level. Within income brackets, those respondents who reported never experiencing financial strain are better off than those who stated they experience hardship occasionally or all of the time. Moreover, those who reported occasionally perceiving strain had significantly lower depressive symptoms than those who detailed perceiving financial strain all of the time. Altogether, these findings indicate that perceived financial strain is more so a driver of mental health than household income as young adults seek to make ends meet.
  Filename       Size       Approximate Download Time (Hours:Minutes:Seconds) 
 28.8 Modem   56K Modem   ISDN (64 Kb)   ISDN (128 Kb)   Higher-speed Access 
  Hope.pdf 794.20 Kb 00:03:40 00:01:53 00:01:39 00:00:49 00:00:04

Browse All Available ETDs by ( Author | Department )

If you have more questions or technical problems, please Contact LITS.