Relationship of subjective and objective social status with psychological and physiological functioning: preliminary data in healthy white women

Health Psychol. 2000 Nov;19(6):586-92. doi: 10.1037//0278-6133.19.6.586.


This preliminary study compared the associations between objective and subjective socioeconomic status (SES) with psychological and physical variables among 157 healthy White women, 59 of whom subsequently participated in a laboratory stress study. Compared with objective indicators, subjective social status was more consistently and strongly related to psychological functioning and health-related factors (self-rated health, heart rate, sleep latency, body fat distribution, and cortisol habituation to repeated stress). Most associations remained significant even after controlling for objective social status and negative affectivity. Results suggest that, in this sample with a moderately restricted range on SES and health, psychological perceptions of social status may be contributing to the SES-health gradient.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Class*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Hydrocortisone