Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 407–419 | Cite as

Beyond conventional socioeconomic status: examining subjective and objective social status with self-reported health among Asian immigrants

  • Fang Gong
  • Jun Xu
  • David T. Takeuchi


Despite mounting evidence for a strong and persistent association between socioeconomic status (SES) and health, this relationship is largely unknown among Asian immigrants, a fast growing minority group in the US population. Previous research has typically focused on objective SES (primarily education and income) and ignored self-perceived SES. Using data from the National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS) (N = 1,570), we examined the impact of subjective as well as objective SES upon multiple self-reported health outcomes among Asian immigrants. Results indicated that conventional SES indicators by and large were non-significantly related to self-rated physical health, physical discomfort, self-rated mental health, and psychological distress. In contrast, subjective SES relative to people in the United States and people in the community showed strong associations with health outcomes above and beyond conventional SES markers. This study suggested a promising avenue to incorporate subjective SES in health disparities research, especially among immigrants.


Subjective socioeconomic status Objective socioeconomic status Socioeconomic status and health Asian immigrants 



The National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS) was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (grants U01 MH62209 and U01 MH62207).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyBall State UniversityMuncieUSA
  2. 2.School of Social WorkUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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