Socioeconomic status and psychological distress: The impact of financial aid on economic problem severity

Harold W. Neighbors, Thomas A. Laveist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Most epidemiologic studies of race and psychological distress are conducted on data sets containing few black respondents. As a result, the amount of data on risk groups within the black population is limited. Furthermore, the epidemiologic information that we do have is usually confined to demographic correlates of distress only, with no appreciation for exploring variables which might link race and socioeconomic status to psychological distress. In this paper, data are analyzed from the National Survey of Black Americans, a nationally representative sample of the adult black population. The paper explores how help seeking and receipt of financial assistance impact upon psychological distress among blacks with economic problems. Results revealed that while 89% seek outside help, only 21% are successful in obtaining financial assistance. Regression analyses revealed that receipt of financial assistance does not eliminate the negative relationship between socioeconomic status and distress. Results did show, however, that the ability to obtain money decreases distress by reducing the severity of the economic problem. The implications for how psychiatric epidemiology can be used as a basis for public health-related interventions among blacks are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-165
Number of pages17
JournalThe Journal of Primary Prevention
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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