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    Subjective social status and allostatic load among older people in England: a longitudinal analysis

    Richards, Lindsay, Maharani, Asri ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5931-8692 and Präg, Patrick (2023) Subjective social status and allostatic load among older people in England: a longitudinal analysis. Social Science and Medicine, 320. p. 115749. ISSN 0277-9536

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    Abstract

    Background Subjective social status has a known association with health, whereby better health outcomes are observed for those with higher perceived status. In this research, we offer new evidence on the status–health relationship using a rigorous methodological approach that considers both observed and unobserved confounders. Methods We use 5 waves of data spanning 15 years from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and derive a measure of allostatic load with biomarkers as an objective measure of health. We apply ‘within–between’ panel regression models. Results Models reveal the expected association between subjective status and health when comparing participants (the ‘between’ estimate), but no association when examining temporal variation within participants (the ‘within’ estimate). When controlling for personality traits including optimism, and parental education, the ‘between’ association between subjective status and allostatic load is reduced but does not disappear. Conclusions Person-level confounders play some role in explaining the observed link between subjective status and health. The exact nature of the link, including the role of psychological pathways and early-life confounders, remains a question for future research.

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