Psychosocial resources and the SES-health relationship

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1999;896:210-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.1999.tb08117.x.


Psychosocial resources, which include optimism, coping style, a sense of mastery or personal control, and social support, influence the relationship between SES and health. To varying degrees, these resources appear to be differentially distributed by social class and related to health outcomes. Such resources may partially mediate the impact of SES on health. For example, environments that undermine personal control may have an impact on chronic arousal and the corresponding development of disease, such as CHD. Psychosocial resources may also moderate the impact of SES on health. For example, a large number of positive social relationships and a few conflictual ones may buffer individuals against the adverse effects of SES-related stress. These psychosocial resources are moderately intercorrelated, and so a research strategy that explores their coherence as a psychosocial profile that promotes resilience to stress is tenable and merits empirical examination. The erosion of these resources as one moves lower on the SES scale and specific factors that contribute to such erosion are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Arousal
  • Conflict, Psychological
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Personality*
  • Social Class*
  • Social Environment
  • Social Support*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology