Adolescents' understanding of social class: a comparison of white upper middle class and working class youth

J Adolesc Health. 2000 Aug;27(2):80-3. doi: 10.1016/s1054-139x(99)00116-0.


Purpose: Social class is increasingly being recognized as an important factor in the development of population-based variation in health among teens. However, little consensus exists regarding its measurement or conceptualization.

Methods: This study examined beliefs about social class of 48 working class and 50 upper middle class 16-year-old, white teens.

Results: Working class teens were more likely to misclassify themselves with regard to social class position. Significant class differences were present in beliefs regarding social mobility, parents' equity, equality of opportunity within society, and financial status as adults. How this conceptualization of social class translates into population-based variation in health remains an important area for further inquiry.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Attitude
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupations
  • Self Concept*
  • Social Class*