With this study, we make a number of contributions to the ongoing debate on the implications of intergenerational mobility for individuals' health. First, instead of focusing on absolute intergenerational mobility in educational attainment, we analyse varying implications of relative intergenerational mobility for depressive symptoms by considering the distribution of educational credentials separately in the parental and offspring generations. Second, unlike conventional approaches, which predominantly emphasise that upward and downward mobility has a negative effect, we argue that upward mobility might improve individuals' mental well-being and that this effect may vary by gender. Third, we use statistical approach which was designed specifically to study the consequences of intergenerational mobility and does not conflate mobility effects with effects of the positions of origin and destination. Using the 2012–2014 waves of the European Social Survey and data for 52,773 individuals nested in 28 societies, we fit the diagonal reference models with both individuals' short- and long-range experiences of intergenerational educational mobility. The results indicate that upward and downward mobility is associated with, respectively, lower and higher levels of depressive symptoms, as measured with the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, and that these effects are only observed among men.

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doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.12.027, hdl.handle.net/1765/120580
Social Science & Medicine
Department of Public Administration and Sociology (DPAS)

Gugushvili, A. (2019). ‘Falling from grace’and ‘rising from rags’: Intergenerational educational mobility and depressive symptoms. Social Science & Medicine, 222, 294–304. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.12.027