ECPR Joint Sessions
University of Nottingham, Nottingham
25 - 30 April 2017




How and Why Depression Suppresses Turnout?

Differentiation
 
Education
 
Electoral Behaviour
 
Presenter
Hannu Lahtinen
University of Helsinki
Authors
Hanna Wass
University of Helsinki
Reijo Sund
University of Helsinki
Hannu Lahtinen
University of Helsinki
Mikko Mattila
University of Helsinki
Pekka Martikainen
University of Helsinki

Abstract
Using the 1998 General Social Survey and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, Ojeda (2015) shows that depression suppresses turnout even after controlling for sociodemographic characteristics, church attendance, the strength of partisanship, general health, and happiness. Moreover, the negative effect of adolescent depressed mood is partially mediated through educational attainment and party identification and weakly mediated through social interaction with friends. The negative association between depression and electoral participation has been detected also in the Finnish context (Sund et al. 2016). In this study, we concentrate the role of socioeconomic status in this relationship. Especially if experienced at young age, depression may decrease the propensity for attaining tertiary education and thus lead to a more vulnerable labor-market position. Low socioeconomic status accompanied by mental health problems expectedly forms one of the worst combinations for any kind of political engagement, including voting. Our analysis is based on an individual-level register-based dataset that contains an 11 percent random sample of the entire electorate. With information on hospital discharge diagnoses and reimbursements for prescribed drugs, we first identify persons who suffer from depression and then follow their educational, occupational and voting trajectories.
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"Man is by nature a political animal" - Aristotle


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