Three Studies of Psychopathology and Distress Among Privileged Groups Open Access

Martin,Chris (Fall 2017)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/3b591857h?locale=en
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Abstract

Sociological studies of mental health have traditionally focused on the problems of the underprivileged. In this dissertation, I examine facets of psychopathology and stress among privileged groups. The first study asks whether and why anxiety has been rising across cohorts of college students, who are privileged relative to individuals with lower educational attainment. Through interviews with 12 long-tenured psychotherapists who have primarily served college students, I examine five hypotheses about why anxiety has risen. Therapists’ observations support four of the five hypotheses. I also find that helicopter parenting and social media create distinct problems for younger cohorts. The second study asks whether privileged students are more likely than their less privileged peers to pursue a party pathway in college. Using weighted data from 18,611 undergraduates, aged 18-24, across 23 U.S. institutions, I find that parental socioeconomic status positively predicts marijuana use, drug variety, and frequency of alcohol consumption. In an unadjusted model, it also predicts the use of substances to disengage from stressors. The third study examines the Asian-White contrast in working-hours mismatches. Conventionally, undermatches are considered a consequence of under-employment and precarious jobs, and overmatches are interpreted as symptomatic of overwork among professionals. I hypothesize that collectivistic cultural values cause Asian respondents to express the desire for more working hours, relative to Whites, independently of under-employment and overwork, which also influence Asians’ preferences. Using data from a New Zealand survey (N = 3,854), I find that Asian workers are approximately twice as likely as Whites to express the desire for more time at work, even after controlling for working hours, perceived income inadequacy, household structure, household income, occupational class, education, gender, age, job satisfaction, and work-life balance. Furthermore, having a family appears to diminish the desire for more work time among Whites, but marginally increase the desire for more work time among Asians.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

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CHAPTER 2: DOES CULTURAL CHANGE EXPLAIN THE RISE IN COLLEGE STUDENT ANXIETY?

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Table 2.1

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Table 2.2

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Figure 2.1

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CHAPTER 3: PARENTAL SES AND SUBSTANCE USAGE IN UNDERGRADUATES: EVIDENCE FOR THE PARTY PATHWAY

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Table 3.1

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Table 3.2

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Table 3.3

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Table 3.4

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CHAPTER 4: THE CULTURAL MEANING OF TIME MISMATCH: CONTRASTING ASIANS WITH WHITES

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Table 4.1

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Table 4.2

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Table 4.3

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Table 4.4

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Table 4.5

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Table 4.6

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Figure 4.1

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Figure 4.2

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CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION

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APPENDIX A

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