Relations Between Socioeconomic Status, Subjective Social Status, and Health in Shanghai, China

Jason R.D. Rarick, Carly Tubbs Dolan, Wen Jui Han, Jun Wen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Although research has established a strong link between socioeconomic status (SES) and health in Western settings, comparable work in China lags behind. Similarly, studies showing a unique relationship for subjective social status (SSS) and health above and beyond SES have yet to be tested in China. The present study addresses these gaps. Methods: Regression analyses investigated the relationship between SES, SSS, and mental and physical health net of several covariates for 2,282 caregivers in Shanghai, China. Indirect relationships for SES through SSS were also tested. Results: Results indicate that SES is linked to mental and physical health outcomes, but in complicated ways. SSS, on the other hand, is consistently and robustly linked to health outcomes above and beyond income, education, occupational prestige, and Hukou status. Further significant indirect effects were found through SSS for income, education, and Hukou status. Conclusion: In China's context of rapid economic growth, relationships to SES and health appear complicated. However, subjective perceptions of status are consistently linked to health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-405
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Science Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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