"Feeling" hierarchy: the pathway from subjective social status to achievement

J Adolesc. 2012 Dec;35(6):1571-9. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2012.06.006. Epub 2012 Jul 13.


The current study tested a psychosocial mediation model of the association between subjective social status (SSS) and academic achievement for youth. The sample included 430 high school students from diverse racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Those who perceived themselves to be at higher social status levels had higher GPAs. As predicted by the model, most of the relationship was mediated by emotional distress and study skills and habits. The lower SSS students had more depressive symptoms, which led to less effective studying and lower GPA. The model held across different racial/ethnic groups, was tested against alternative models, and results remained stable controlling for objective socioeconomic status. Implications for identity-based intervention are discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Educational Measurement
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Midwestern United States
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Motivation
  • Social Class*
  • Stress, Psychological*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires