Relations among Socioeconomic Status Indicators and Health for African-Americans and Whites.

TitleRelations among Socioeconomic Status Indicators and Health for African-Americans and Whites.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsOstrove, JM, Feldman, P, Adler, NE
JournalJ Health Psychol
Date Published1999 Jul
ISSN Number1359-1053

This investigation explored the relationship of socioeconomic status (SES) to physical and mental health in two nationally representative samples of whites and African-Americans. We examined the interrelations among SES variables and assessed their contribution to health for the two racial groups. Throughout, we assessed the contribution of a less traditional indicator of SES-wealth-in the SES-health relationship. As we expected, African-Americans had lower levels of education, household income, and wealth than whites. Unexpectedly, however, the strength of the interrelationships among the three SES indicators did not differ for African-Americans and whites. In addition, we found that SES operated to affect health in a very similar fashion for African-Americans and whites. We found that wealth, in addition to more traditional indicators of SES (education and household income), made a unique and significant contribution to explaining both physical and mental health. Examining relations of different SES indicators to health across groups is critical to eliminating persistent social inequalities in health.


John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Network on Socioeconomic Status and Health and National Institute of Health Training grants.

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Alternate JournalJ Health Psychol
Citation Key6670
PubMed ID22021639