Medical Adaptation to Academic Pressure

Schooling, Stimulant Use, and Socioeconomic Status

Marissa D. King, Jennifer Jennings, Jason M. Fletcher

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Despite the rise of medical interventions to address behavioral issues in childhood, the social determinants of their use remain poorly understood. By analyzing a dataset that includes the majority of prescriptions written for stimulants in the United States, we find a substantial effect of schooling on stimulant use. In middle and high school, adolescents are roughly 30 percent more likely to have a stimulant prescription filled during the school year than during the summer. Socioeconomically advantaged children are more likely than their less advantaged peers to selectively use stimulants only during the academic year. These differences persist when we compare higher and lower socioeconomic status children seeing the same doctors. We link these responses to academic pressure by exploiting variation between states in educational accountability system stringency. We find the largest differences in school year versus summer stimulant use in states with more accountability pressure. School-based selective stimulant use is most common among economically advantaged children living in states with strict accountability policies. Our study uncovers a new pathway through which medical interventions may act as a resource for higher socioeconomic status families to transmit educational advantages to their children, either intentionally or unwittingly.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1039-1066
    Number of pages28
    JournalAmerican Sociological Review
    Volume79
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Dec 25 2014

    Fingerprint

    social status
    school
    responsibility
    medication
    childhood
    determinants
    adolescent
    resources

    Keywords

    • accountability
    • education
    • social determinants of health
    • social stratification

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science

    Cite this

    Medical Adaptation to Academic Pressure : Schooling, Stimulant Use, and Socioeconomic Status. / King, Marissa D.; Jennings, Jennifer; Fletcher, Jason M.

    In: American Sociological Review, Vol. 79, No. 6, 25.12.2014, p. 1039-1066.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    King, Marissa D. ; Jennings, Jennifer ; Fletcher, Jason M. / Medical Adaptation to Academic Pressure : Schooling, Stimulant Use, and Socioeconomic Status. In: American Sociological Review. 2014 ; Vol. 79, No. 6. pp. 1039-1066.
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