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Subjective socioeconomic status and health: Relationships reconsidered

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  • Nobles, Jenna
  • Weintraub, Miranda Ritterman
  • Adler, Nancy E.

Abstract

Subjective status, an individual's perception of her socioeconomic standing, is a robust predictor of physical health in many societies. To date, competing interpretations of this correlation remain unresolved. Using longitudinal data on 8430 older adults from the 2000 and 2007 waves of the Indonesia Family Life Survey, we test these oft-cited links. As in other settings, perceived status is a robust predictor of self-rated health, and also of physical functioning and nurse-assessed general health. These relationships persist in the presence of controls for unobserved traits, such as difficult-to-measure aspects of family background and persistent aspects of personality. However, we find evidence that these links likely represent bi-directional effects. Declines in health that accompany aging are robust predictors of declines in perceived socioeconomic status, net of observed changes to the economic profile of respondents. The results thus underscore the social value afforded good health status.

Suggested Citation

  • Nobles, Jenna & Weintraub, Miranda Ritterman & Adler, Nancy E., 2013. "Subjective socioeconomic status and health: Relationships reconsidered," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 58-66.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:82:y:2013:i:c:p:58-66
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.01.021
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    5. Wang, Haining & Cheng, Zhiming & Smyth, Russell, 2019. "Health outcomes, health inequality and Mandarin proficiency in urban China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 1-1.
    6. Emma Zang & Anthony R. Bardo, 2019. "Objective and Subjective Socioeconomic Status, Their Discrepancy, and Health: Evidence from East Asia," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 143(2), pages 765-794, June.
    7. Nikkil Sudharsanan, 2019. "The Association Between Socioeconomic Status and Adult Mortality in a Developing Country: Evidence From a Nationally Representative Longitudinal Survey of Indonesian Adults," The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, The Gerontological Society of America, vol. 74(3), pages 484-495.
    8. Jason R. D. Rarick & Carly Tubbs Dolan & Wen‐Jui Han & Jun Wen, 2018. "Relations Between Socioeconomic Status, Subjective Social Status, and Health in Shanghai, China," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 99(1), pages 390-405, March.
    9. Haining Wang & Zhiming Cheng & Russell Smyth, 2016. "Language, Health Outcomes and Health Inequality," Monash Economics Working Papers 43-16, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    10. Lee, Miaw-Chwen & Huang, Nicole, 2015. "Changes in self-perceived economic satisfaction and mortality at old ages: Evidence from a survey of middle-aged and elderly adults in Taiwan," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 1-8.
    11. Präg, Patrick & Mills, Melinda C. & Wittek, Rafael, 2016. "Subjective socioeconomic status and health in cross-national comparison," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 84-92.
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    15. Bucciol Alessandro & Zarri Luca & Cicognani Simona, 2020. "Social Status Perception and Individual Social Capital: Evidence from the US," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 20(1), pages 1-14, January.
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    17. Han Yu, 2020. "Income Comparison and Subjective Well-Being: Evidence from Self-Perceived Relative Income Data from China," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 46(4), pages 636-672, October.
    18. Richards, Lindsay & Maharani, Asri & Präg, Patrick, 2023. "Subjective social status and allostatic load among older people in England: A longitudinal analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 320(C).

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