Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952576 | Print ISBN: 9780761923602 | Online ISBN: 9781412952576| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Socioeconomic Status and Health
Nancy E. Adler
Socioeconomic status (SES), traditionally assessed by income, education, and occupation, reflects individuals' material and social resources. Various theories of social stratification emphasize different aspects of SES and suggest different types of measurement. However, virtually all measures of SES are related to morbidity and mortality, suggesting that SES is a pervasive and robust influence on health. In industrialized countries, SES is related to health at all levels of the socioeconomic hierarchy. It is not simply that those in poverty experience poorer health than those with more income; even individuals well above the poverty level have poorer health than those who are relatively more affluent. At an individual level, the health burden of socioeconomic disadvantage is most acute for the very poorest. At a population level, because a far greater proportion of people are in the middle of the SES distribution than at the extremes, a substantial proportion of health effects related ...