Pathways from Parental Education to Adult Trajectories of Depressive Symptoms

Amélie Quesnel-Vallée, McGill University
Miles G. Taylor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Alison Park, McGill University

Using latent growth curves, we decompose the effects of parental education on trajectories of depressive symptoms (DS) in adulthood into direct and indirect effects mediated by respondents’ education and trajectories of income in adulthood. Data come from the NLSY79 (N=5,247). Mother’s, but not father’s, education had a direct effect on the intercept of DS, as each year of maternal education decreased the intercept of DS by 0.10 points (p<0.001). This direct effect declined in both significance (p<0.05) and by 50% in magnitude with the indirect effect through respondents’ own education. Finally, the totality of the effect appeared to be indirect when trajectories of income were included. Thus, childhood appears to be a period sensitive to the effects of parents’ education, but this effect wanes as individuals progress through the life course and more proximate effects of achieved status (education and income) take precedence.

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Presented in Poster Session 5