Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology
Subjective social status (SSS) is becoming an increasingly relevant tool for sociologist and health researchers to investigate socioeconomic disparities and their associations with health. Prior research has found a strong relationship between subjective social status and a variety of health outcomes. However, little is known about how exactly subjective status may be impacting health in a way distinct from objective socioeconomic status. In order to better understand the process by which SSS “gets under the skin” to create health disparities in a young adult cohort, this dissertation investigates not only the relationship between SSS and health, but also how SSS is formed in young adulthood, and how relative subjective position is similar yet different from relative objective position. First, this dissertation further expands on the role early live objective socioeconomic status has in continuing to shape subjective social status throughout the life course by connecting it to psychosocial mechanisms to previous explored in relationship to SSS. Then, this dissertation examines how SSS in young adulthood is associated with a variety of objective health measures, including exploring how certain stress and health behavior mechanisms may mediate the SSS-health relationship. Finally, a new measure of relative objective position is introduced, further adding to our understanding of how relative subjective socioeconomic status is formed early in the life course and how it impacts health.