How Subjective Social Status Affects Health: Gender Differences in Reciprocal and Reverse Causal Relationships

Garbarski, Dana
Working paper no. 2008-10


Recent work exploring the relationship between socioeconomic status and health has employed a psychosocial concept called subjective social status (SSS) as a mediator in the relationship. Given that SSS is “cognitive averaging” of SE characteristics over time, SSS may be a component of socioeconomic status subject to interplay with health over the life course, in that it may be a consequence rather than a cause of one’s health.  This analysis finds evidence for a reciprocal relation for women, where SSS and self-reported health simultaneously affect one another.  This analysis finds evidence of reverse causation for men, in that self-reported health from an earlier time has a significant effect on men’s SSS.