Alexi Gugushvili: "Does perceived social mobility affect health?"

In this article published in Social Science & Medicine, Alexi Gugushvili examines whether changing one's socioeconomic position over the life course affects health. The findings argue that perceived upward mobility has a consistent and strong positive effect on health outcomes in Poland.

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Rationale

The question as to whether changing one's socioeconomic position over the life course affects health has not been answered in a conclusive manner. At the same time, it has been established that individuals who think of themselves that they are higher in the social hierarchy are healthier than those who think otherwise.

Objective

In this study, Alexi Gugushvili and colleagues focus on perceived social mobility to shed new light on the issue of how social mobility affects health. We examine whether perceived social mobility, i.e., an individual's appraisal of doing better or worse than their parents, affects health by analyzing longitudinal data from Poland.

Methods

Using a fixed effects approach to account for all time-invariant and important time-varying confounders, we analyze the Polish Panel Survey which has been collecting data on participants’ social mobility perceptions along with information on their self-reported physical health and psychological wellbeing.

Results

We find that perceived social mobility is a significant predictor of self-reported physical health and psychological wellbeing, even in models that adjust for a host of theoretically relevant control variables. The results demonstrate that upward subjective mobility has a consistent and strong positive effect on health outcomes. The effect of perceived social mobility is stronger for males and for those with less advantageous social origins.

Conclusions

Our findings are in line with the “from rags to riches” theoretical perspective, emphasizing the positive implications of upward social mobility on health through various psychological mechanisms. Based on our findings, we call for greater scholarly attention to subjective aspects of social mobility in research on health outcomes.

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Emneord: social mobility, Health, Social Science
Publisert 8. feb. 2022 11:47 - Sist endret 8. feb. 2022 11:51