“The Serpent of Their Agonies”: Exploitation As Structural Determinant of Mental Illness

Abstract Background: Social stratification is a well-documented determinant of mental health. Traditional measures of stratification (e.g., socioeconomic status) reduce dynamic social processes to individual attributes downstream of mechanisms that generate stratification. In this study, we measure one process theorized to generate and reproduce social stratification—economic exploitation—and explore its association with mental health. Methods: Data are from the 1983 to 2017 waves of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, a nationally representative cohort study (base- line N = 3059).

Two Decades of Neo-Marxist Class Analysis and Health Inequalities: A Critical Reconstruction

Abstract Most population health researchers conceptualize social class as a set of attributes and material conditions of life of individuals. The empiricist tradition of ‘class as an individual attribute’ equates class to an ‘observation’, precluding the investigation of unobservable social mechanisms. Another consequence of this view of social class is that it cannot be conceptualized, measured, or intervened upon at the meso- or macro levels, being reduced to a personal attribute.

Social Class and Mental Health: Testing Exploitation as a Relational Determinant of Depression

Abstract This study tests whether social class exploitation operates as a relational mechanism that generates mental health inequalities in the nursing home industry. We ask, does social class exploitation (i.e., the acquisition of economic benefits from the labor of those who are dominated) have a systematic and predictable impact on depression among nursing assistants? Using cross-sectional data from 868 nursing assistants employed in 50 nursing homes in three U.