Mind over matter. The impact of subjective social status on health outcomes and health behaviors

Recent insights have shown subjective status to impact health and health behavior. It is however unclear how this exactly happens. In this study we explore two mechanisms: this of a direct, mediating effect of subjective status explaining the impact of material class on health outcomes and behavior and an indirect, moderating impact on the relationship between material class and health outcomes and behavior. To test this empirically we conduct two studies, focusing on Great-Britain, using survey-data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (N: 2709–3448) and the Whitehall II-study (N: 6275–6467). Our linear and logistic regression analyses show subjective status has a mainly direct impact on health outcomes and has both a direct, mediating and indirect, moderating impact on health behavior. In the conclusion of our article we reflect on the theoretical reasons why subjective status has a direct impact in certain cases, while playing an indirect role in other cases.