American Sociological Association

Sociological Inquiry into Mental Health: The Legacy of Leonard I. Pearlin

As a tribute to the body of work created by our late colleague Leonard I. Pearlin, this essay assesses how the evolution of the Stress Process Model, the centerpiece of his work, repeatedly reinvented sociological research on stress and mental health and explains why this model, therefore, possesses the potential to renew itself well into the future. This essay revisits some of Pearlin’s seminal contributions: the original specification of the stress process and three extensions of it—the concept of stress proliferation, the formulation of the role of social structure and functioning in the stress process, and the articulation of linkages between the stress process and the life course perspective. The resultant body of work has had formative influences on the ways sociologists now think about the impact of society on the inner emotional lives of its members.


Aneshensel, C. S.





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