CitationUecker, Jeremy E. & Wilkinson, Lindsay R. (2017). College selectivity, subjective social status, and mental health among young adults. Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association. Montréal, QC.
AbstractResearch on education and mental health tends to focus on the benefits of acquiring higher levels of education. Other aspects of education, however, may be tied to mental health as well. We hypothesize that one’s college selectivity yields mental health benefits over and above the effect of merely attending college, and that this effect operates through subjective social status. We test this hypothesis using data from the subsample of respondents who attended college in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. Our findings indicate that although there is no direct effect of college selectivity on depressive symptoms, stress, or anxiety among those who went to college, attending a college in the top 5%—as measured by the median SAT scores of students—has a significant indirect effect on each outcome. That is, college selectivity has a strong, positive effect on one’s subjective social status, which in turn has salutary mental health effects. These findings contribute to our understanding of the role that college selectivity plays in the lives of young adults, as well as the influence subjective social status has on the mental health of young adults.
Reference TypeConference proceeding
Book TitleAnnual Meeting of the American Sociological Association
Author(s)Uecker, Jeremy E.
Wilkinson, Lindsay R.