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Educational Mobility across Generations and Depressive Symptoms over 10 Years among US Latinos


Ward, Julia B.; Robinson, Whitney R.; Pence, Brian W.; Maselko, Joanna; Albrecht, Sandra S.; Haan, Mary N.; & Aiello, Allison E. (2018). Educational Mobility across Generations and Depressive Symptoms over 10 Years among US Latinos. American Journal of Epidemiology, 187(8), 1686-1695. PMCID: PMC6070036


Few studies have collected intergenerational data to assess the association between educational mobility across multiple generations and offspring depression. Using data from the Sacramento Area Latino Study on Aging (1998-2008), we assessed the influence of intergenerational education on depressive symptoms over 10 years among 1,786 Latino individuals (mean age = 70.6 years). Educational mobility was classified: stable-low (low parent/low offspring education), upwardly mobile (low parent/high offspring education), stable-high (high parent/high offspring education), or downwardly mobile (high parent/low offspring education). Depressive symptoms were measured with the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D); higher scores indicated more depressive symptoms. To quantify the association between educational mobility and CES-D scores over follow-up, we used generalized estimating equations to account for repeated CES-D measurements and adjusted for identified confounders. Within individuals, depressive symptoms remained relatively stable over follow-up. Compared to stable-low education, stable-high education and upward mobility were associated with significantly lower CES-D scores (beta = -2.75 and -2.18, respectively). Downwardly mobile participants had slightly lower CES-D scores than stable-low participants (beta = -0.77). Our results suggest that sustained low educational attainment across generations may have adverse mental health consequences, and improved educational opportunities in under-resourced communities may counteract the adverse influence of low parental education on Latino depression.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Journal of Epidemiology


Ward, Julia B.
Robinson, Whitney R.
Pence, Brian W.
Maselko, Joanna
Albrecht, Sandra S.
Haan, Mary N.
Aiello, Allison E.