American Sociological Association

Race-Ethnicity, Social Roles, and Mental Health: A Research Update

Social role involvement engenders sense of purpose and meaning to life, which sustains positive mental health. Racism within American society, however, results in experiences that disadvantage ethnoracial minorities, thus making it likely that social roles do not have universal remunerations. Using the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys (N = 12,526), this study explores the association between role participation and psychological distress across nine ethnoracial groups. Results indicate that engaging in many roles is associated with better mental health for all ethnoracial groups. However, the combination of social roles has distinct effects for certain groups. We discuss the implications of the study findings for medical sociology, in general, and the social roles literature, in particular.


Pamela Braboy Jackson and Christy L. Erving





Starting Page


Ending Page