Do We Know Where We Stand? Neighborhood Relative Income, Subjective Social Status, and Health

Amanda L. Roy, Erin B. Godfrey, Jason R D Rarick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Bridging research on relative income and subjective social status (SSS), this study examines how neighborhood relative income is related to ones' SSS, and in turn, physical and mental health. Using a survey sample of 1807 U.S. adults, we find that neighborhood median income significantly moderates the relationship between household income and self-reported physical and mental health. Low-income individuals living in high-income neighborhoods (i.e., relative disadvantage) report better physical and mental health than low-income individuals living in low-income neighborhoods. In addition, high-income individuals living in low-income neighborhoods (i.e., relative advantage) report higher SSS (relative to neighbors), whereas low-income individuals living in high-income neighborhoods (i.e., relative disadvantage) also report higher SSS. We draw from social comparison theory to interpret these results positing that downward comparisons may serve an evaluative function while upward comparisons may result in affiliation with better-off others. Finally, we demonstrate that SSS explains the relationship between neighborhood relative income and health outcomes, providing empirical support for the underlying influence of perceived social position.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)448-458
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican journal of community psychology
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

Keywords

  • Health
  • Neighborhood
  • Relative income
  • Social comparisons
  • Subjective social status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Do We Know Where We Stand? Neighborhood Relative Income, Subjective Social Status, and Health'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this