Objective: This article examines whether multidimensional indicators of objective and subjective socioeconomic status (SES) across the life course can be categorized into latent classes of SES mobility and tests the associations of these categories with inflammation markers among white and black adults.
Methods: Data are from 592 non-Hispanic white and 158 non-Hispanic black participants who completed both the baseline survey and biomarkers assessment of the Midlife in the United States Refresher study. Groups of different SES mobility were examined using latent class analysis.
Results: White and black participants showed different patterns of SES mobility. Among blacks, the latent classes were as follows: 1) objectively always high (24.71%; high objective SES across the life course), 2) subjectively always high (6.48%; high subjective and low objective SES across the life course), 3) downwardly mobile (35.84%; high childhood SES, low adult SES), and 4) always low (32.97%; low childhood SES, education, and adult SES). Among whites, the latent classes were as follows: 1) always high (52.17%; high childhood SES, high education, high adult SES), 2) upwardly mobile (18.14%; low childhood SES, high education, high adult SES), 3) subjectively downward (27.74%; high childhood SES, high education, high objective adult SES, low subjective adult SES), and 4) always low (1.95%; low childhood SES, education, and adult SES). SES mobility was associated with inflammation in white (Wald χ values (3) = 12.89-17.44, p values < .050), but not in black adults (Wald χ values (3) = 2.79-7.22, p values > .050).
Conclusion: The lack of SES mobility differentiation on inflammation is an indication of diminished return for the most affluent class among black participants.