With the end of Junior Theme and the start of our unit on social class, I realized that social class is actually highly related to my general topic for Junior Theme: depression in young people. The more obvious connection of these two topics is that depression is more prevalent among the young people of the lower classes, and the reason that this seems so obvious to Americans like me is because of the American belief that money buys happiness. As has been mentioned before in class, depression being more common in lower classes is actually the exact opposite of the truth. Affluent teens, which are defined by the American Psychological Association as teens raised in suburban homes with their family income being $120,000 or higher, "report higher rates of depression, anxiety and substance abuse than any other socioeconomic group of young Americans today". So why, when it comes to teenagers of high classes, does money do the opposite of buy happiness?
One child psychologist by the name of Madeline Levine has written a whole book attempting to answer this question, called The Price of Privilege. In the book, Levine writes: "When [parents] coerce, intrude on or take over for [their] children unnecessarily [they] may be 'spoiling' them, but the far more significant consequence is that [they] are interfering with their [children's] ability to construct a sense of self". This "taking over" or "spoiling" of one's children seems to be a part of the culture of the higher classes. As we have discussed in class, low class parents tend to only be concerned that their children stay out of trouble, whereas high class parents want to shower their children with resources to help them succeed. And according to Levine, this "spoiling" by parents can lead to them flat-out "taking over" their children's lives, which inhibits children fro"m developing a "sense of self", causing emotional issues such as depression.
This saddening trend of mental illness in adolescents of high class is proof that the cultures of the high and low classes in America are very different, particularly in how parents in these classes raise their children. I find it extremely upsetting that this aspect of the culture of the higher classes is actually causing children to develop illnesses like depression. Perhaps if more people researched this topic and published their findings like Levine did, this issue would be something that was almost common knowledge, and parents of high classes would know not to make the mistake of taking over their children's lives,. No matter how it is done, parents of higher classes need to be made aware that what they believe would help their children could possibly do the exact opposite.