Do adults adjust their socio-economic status identity in later life

Jennifer C. Cornman, Noreen Goldman, Amy Love Collins, Dana A. Glei, Baai Shyun Hurng, Maxine Weinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Previous research shows that socio-economic status (SES) identity, also referred to as perceived or subjective social status, is shaped by objective measures of status, socio-cultural influences and psychological attributes and predicts current and future wellbeing. Prior studies, however, have not examined whether older adults reassess their SES identity over time. In this study, we use two assessments of subjective social status measured six years apart in a sample of older Taiwanese adults to: (a) determine the degree to which respondents adjust their perceptions of social rank; and (b) identify the characteristics of individuals who are most likely to revise their assessments. We find that many older Taiwanese adults reassess their SES identity, but most respondents show small to moderate levels of change. Females, more highly educated respondents, and those who have a positive economic outlook tend to revise their subjective social status upward relative to their respective counterparts; those who become widowed during the period adjust their rankings downward compared with those who do not become widowed. These findings suggest that SES identity may be dynamic, highlighting the importance of collecting information on SES identity at multiple points in the lifecourse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)616-633
Number of pages18
JournalAgeing and Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


  • Taiwan
  • older adults
  • subjective social status


Dive into the research topics of 'Do adults adjust their socio-economic status identity in later life'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this