We examined whether perceived social position predicted mental and physical health outcomes (depressive symptoms, cognitive impairment, mobility restrictions, and self-assessed health) in a prospective study based on a nationally representative sample of older persons in Taiwan. Cross-sectional and longitudinal models were used to demonstrate the relationship between perceived social position and health, as reported by participants in the Social Environment and Biomarkers of Aging Study in Taiwan (SEBAS). Lower perceived social position predicted declining health beyond what was accounted for by objective indicators of socioeconomic position. As predicted, the effect was substantially reduced for all health outcomes in the presence of controls for baseline health. After including these controls, perceived social position was significantly related only to depressive symptoms. The findings suggest that the strength of the association between perceived social position and health may have been overstated in cross-sectional studies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)
- History and Philosophy of Science
- Mental health
- Older adults
- Perceived social position
- Physical health