Socioeconomic Status and Psychological Well-Being: Revisiting the Role of Subjective Socioeconomic Status
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AuthorNavarro Carrillo, Ginés; Alonso Ferres, María; Moya Morales, Miguel Carlos; Valor Segura, Inmaculada
Subjective socioeconomic statusObjective socioeconomic statusSocioeconomic statusPsychological well-beingSocial class
Navarro-Carrillo G, Alonso-Ferres M, Moya M and Valor-Segura I (2020) Socioeconomic Status and Psychological Well-Being: Revisiting the Role of Subjective Socioeconomic Status. Front. Psychol. 11:1303. [doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01303]
SponsorshipSpanish Ministry of Economy, Industry, and Competitiveness for the R&D project "Macrosocial realities (economic crisis and social class) and psychosocial processes: Trust, welfare, altruism, and politics" PSI-2017-83966-R
Socioeconomic status (SES) is a complex and multidimensional construct, encompassing both independent objective characteristics (e.g., income or education) and subjective people’s ratings of their placement in the socioeconomic spectrum. Within the growing literature on subjective SES belongingness and psychological well-being, subjective indices of SES have tended to center on the use of pictorial rank-related social ladders where individuals place themselves relative to others by simultaneously considering their income, educational level, and occupation. This approach, albeit consistent with the idea of these social ladders as summative or cognitive SES markers, might potentially constrain individuals’ conceptions of their SES. This research (N = 368; Mage = 39.67, SD = 13.40) is intended to expand prior investigations on SES and psychological well-being by revisiting the role of subjective SES. In particular, it (a) proposes an innovative adaptation of the traditional MacArthur Scale of subjective SES to income, education, and occupation, thus resulting in three separate social ladders; and (b) tests the empirical contribution of such three social ladders to psychological well-being. Overall, our findings showed that the novel education and occupation ladders (excluding the income ladder) are predictive of a significant part of the variance levels of psychological well-being that is not due to canonical objective metrics of SES (i.e., income, education, and occupation), or to the conventional MacArthur Scale of subjective SES. Although preliminary, these results underscore the need to further reconsider (subjective) SES-related conceptualization and measurement strategies to gather a more comprehensive understanding of the SES-psychological well-being link.
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