Subjective Socioeconomic Status and Health in Cross-National Comparison
Patrick Präg, University of Oxford
Rafael Wittek, University of Groningen
Research has established a robust association between subjective socioeconomic status (SES) and health outcomes, which holds over and above the associations between objective markers of SES and health. Furthermore, comparative research on health inequalities has shown considerable variation in the relationship between different objective markers of SES and health across countries. Drawing on data from 27 countries, we present the first cross-national study on the subjective SES–health relationship. For two health outcomes, namely self-rated health and psychological wellbeing, we are able to confirm that subjective SES is related to health in all countries under study, even when income, education, and occupational prestige are accounted for. Furthermore, we document considerable variation in the strength of the subjective SES–health association across countries. This variation however is independent of country differences in income inequality and country affluence. We conclude by discussing the implications of these findings.