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July 1971

Social Class and Race as Mediator Variables in Neurotic Symptomatology

Author Affiliations

Baltimore; Bethesda, Md; Baltimore; Philadelphia
From the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore (Drs. Derogatis, Covi, and Mr. Davis); Clinical Studies Section, Psychopharmacology Research Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md (Dr. Lipman); and Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia (Dr. Rickels).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1971;25(1):31-40. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1971.01750130033003

An investigation was carried out on 1,071 anxious neurotic outpatients to examine the potential mediating effects of social class and race on distress levels of neurotic symptomatology. Five symptom dimensions, derived through factor analysis, were employed as criteria measures. Results indicated statistically significant effects for social class on both somatization and depression dimensions, with lower-status patients manifesting substantially higher distress levels than patients in the upper classes. This relationship was approximately equivalent for both Negro and white patients. On a dimension of irascibility there was a significant main effect for race, with white patients showing significantly higher levels than Negro patients. In general, as status levels dropped, symptom levels tended to rise.

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