Caste, religion, and mental health in India
The relationship between mental health and social disadvantage is poorly understood in low and middle income countries. Our study contributes the first population-level analysis of mental health disparities in India, where the two marginalized groups that we study constitute a population larger than that of the United States. Applying two complementary empirical strategies to data on 10,125 adults interviewed by the WHO SAGE, we document and decompose gaps in self-reported mental health between the dominant social group (higher caste Hindus) and two marginalized social groups (Scheduled Castes and Muslims). We find that differences in socioeconomic status cannot fully explain the large disparities in mental health that we document, especially for Muslims. Our results highlight the need for policies that move beyond redistribution and for research to understand the causes and consequences of mental health disparities.