The Role of Psychological Characteristics in the Relation Between Socioeconomic Status and Perceived Health

Personslow in socioeconomic status (SES) suffer from relatively poor health. This relation holds, irrespective of whether SES is measured as education, income, or occupation. Moreover, it is found for rates of mortality and morbidity from almost every diseasecondition (Antonovsky, 1967; Illsley & Baker, 1991; Kaplan, Haan, Syme, Minkler, & Winkleby, 1987; Syme & Berkman, 1976). Although many authors have focused on comparing individuals at the very bot- tom of the SES hierarchy to those who are better off, a number have emphasized that there is evidence for an association between increasing SES and increasing health at every level of the SES hierarchy, not just in comparisons with those below the threshold of poverty (e.g., Adler et al., 1994; Haan, Kaplan, & Syme, 1989; Marmot, Kogevinas, & Elston, 1987).

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