Black-White Differences in the Association between Offspring College Attainment and Parents’ Depressive Symptoms
Jenjira Yahirun1, Connor Sheehan2, Krysia Mossakowski3
1Bowling Green State University, 2Arizona State University, 3University of Hawaii at Manoa
Recent evidence suggests that children’s college education may benefit the mental health of parents later in life. Yet, a significant omission of this research is identifying whether racial differences in the association between children’s college attainment and parents’ mental health exist. This study examines the influence of children’s college attainment on parents’ mental health for Black and White parents over age 50. Data come from the U.S. Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and multilevel growth curve models are used to assess older parents’ depressive symptom trajectories. Overall, we found that older parents whose children completed college had significantly lower initial levels of depressive symptoms than those with no children who completed college. Comparing racial groups, a significantly larger effect for Blacks was found than for Whites. However, there was no racial difference in the age slope of depressive symptoms by offspring education.