How do socio-economic conditions make people feel? Does how people feel perpetuate socio-economic inequality? Sociology has a rich history of studying the social causes, as well as the social construction, of mental health. But this literature remains poorly connected to social theories of emotions, economics and the family – and so to theories of stratification. My dissertation makes the theoretical connection, and examines it quantitatively. Using innovative statistical techniques with high-quality measures and data, I improve on attempts to identify socio-emotional mechanisms by which socio-economic inequality persists across the life course, and generations.