Endothelial function: the impact of objective and subjective socioeconomic status on flow-mediated dilation

Ann Behav Med. 2010 Jun;39(3):222-31. doi: 10.1007/s12160-010-9181-9.


Background: Although objective and subjective indicators of socioeconomic status (SES) are linked to cardiovascular disease (CVD), little is known about their relationship to endothelial dysfunction, which often precedes CVD.

Purpose: This study examined how objective and subjective SES relate to brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD).

Methods: FMD was assessed in 72 healthy adults (mean age 36 years). The MacArthur Scale of Subjective Social Status assessed perceived social standing in the USA (SSS-USA) and local community (SSS-Community). Objective SES measures included income and the Hollingshead Two-Factor Index of Social Position (education, occupation).

Results: Adjusted regressions revealed that SSS-Community positively correlated with FMD (p < 0.05) and explained 8% of the variance. No other SES measures were significant for FMD. The association between FMD and SSS-Community remained significant (p < 0.01) after adjustment for objective SES and other covariates.

Conclusions: Lower subjective social status in one's community may be linked to CVD via impaired vasodilation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Brachial Artery / physiology
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology*
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Leisure Activities
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Social Class*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Vasodilation / physiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Cholesterol