To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
The Social Context of Mental Health and Illness: Introduction to Part II
Kristi Williams, Associate Professor Sociology, Department of Sociology, The Ohio State University,
Adrianne Frech, Assistant Professor, Sociology, The University of Akron,
Daniel L. Carlson, Assistant Professor, Sociology, Georgia State University
Williams, Frech, and Carlson examine the evidence for an effect of marital status on mental health, with a particular focus on the factors that identify who benefits from marriage, who suffers from marital dissolution, and under what circumstances. They evaluate three possible explanations for observed associations of marital status with mental health: (1) the marital resource model; (2) the marital crisis model; and (3) selection bias. They conclude that the best recent evidence suggests that, on average, entering marriage improves mental health and exiting marriage undermines mental health, at least in the short run. However, their central argument is that these average associations obscure a great deal of heterogeneity in the experience of marriage and in its consequences for mental health. The authors consider a range of individual, demographic, and relationship characteristics that are likely to moderate the effect of marriage and marital dissolution on mental health. These include gender, marital quality, age / life course, race/ethnicity, values and beliefs, and prior mental health. Students should discuss what other factors are likely to influence whether marriage and divorce are beneficial, neutral, or harmful for mental health. How might the impact of marriage and divorce on mental health change with the times, particularly as alternative family forms become more prevalent?
A general consensus exists among social scientists and the public at large that marriage provides substantial benefits to mental health. For many years, this conclusion was based on cross-sectional studies comparing the average mental health of the married to that of the unmarried at a single point in time. This research clearly showed that married individuals report lower average levels of depression, psychological distress, and psychiatric disorder, and higher levels of life satisfaction and subjective well-being (see Umberson & Williams, 1999 and Waite & Gallagher, 2000 for reviews) than the unmarried. The consistency and relatively large magnitude of observed differences, as well as their persistence across time and in numerous countries (Mastekaasa, 1994; Stack & Eshleman, 1998), led to the conclusion that marriage improves mental health for most people.
Research findings about marital status differences in mental health strongly resonate with cultural views about the individual and societal importance of marriage. Perhaps as a result, they are frequently heralded by the news media with headlines like “Stressed Out?
Social bonds, social integration, and primary group relations are central constructs in sociological theory and have been prime considerations within sociological analyses. This chapter begins with a description of prominent conceptualizations of social support. It discusses current knowledge of this topic, paying particular attention to the challenges of assessing both the mechanisms underlying the association between social support and mental health and the causal direction of this association. The chapter considers how the relationship between social support and well-being is importantly influenced by one's social location. The perception of being loved and wanted, valued and esteemed, and able to count on others must be a function of one's history of supportive and unsupportive experiences, with both early life and recent experiences representing major influences. Social support tends to matter for psychological distress and depression independent of stress level. However, it tends to matter more where stress exposure is relatively high.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.