• Article

Socioeconomic Status and Psychiatric Disorder among Blacks and Whites

This article examines the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and current (six-month) and lifetime rates of psychiatric disorders among blacks and whites. Overall, SES is inversely related to psychiatric disorder for both racial groups. This association is weaker for black males than for white males. There is some variation among specific disorders, with the strongest relationship with SES occurring for alcohol abuse. The six-month rate of depression is unrelated to SES among blacks but inversely related for whites. In contrast to our expectations, we found that lower-SES white males have higher rates of psychiatric illness than their black peers. Lower-SES black females have higher rates of substance abuse disorders than their white counterparts. These findings underscore the need for research efforts to identify the mechanisms and processes that link social stratification to disease


Williams, DR., Takeuchi, DT., & Adair, RK. (1992). Socioeconomic Status and Psychiatric Disorder among Blacks and Whites. Social Forces, 71(1), 179-194.