Does education matter? Income inequality and mental health among young adult men
1Department of Social Welfare, Inha University, 22212 Incheon, Republic of Korea
2School of Social Work, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
Submitted: 02 September 2022 Accepted: 08 February 2023
Online publish date: 23 February 2023
*Corresponding Author(s): Jaewon Lee E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The impacts of income and education on mental health have been understudied among young adult men. This study aims to explore the association between income and depression among young adult men, to examine how educational attainment influences depression, and to investigate how educational attainment moderates the relationship between income and depression among young adult men. We used the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 79 for Children and Young Adults (NLSY79 CY). A total of 1084 young adult men were selected for the final sample. The PROCESS macro 3.4 for Statistical Product and Service Solutions was used for analysis. Both income and educational attainment were negatively related to depression among young adult men. We found a significant interaction effect, indicating that educational attainment moderated the relationship between income and depression among young adult men. The effect of educational attainment on depression was greater for young adult men who earned a lower income compared to those who earned a higher income. Job training programs and other employment assistance should be provided to young adult men to help them to gain employment and job security, as well as to indirectly reduce their levels of depression. Increased access to higher education may also help men attain higher-paying jobs, which may buffer against depression. We suggest that men who have not received higher education receive access to job training programs and programs for job searching and career development to bolster their earnings potential, which thus may reduce depression.
Education; Income; Depression; Young adult men
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