Date of Original Version
Health Psychology 2008, Vol. 27, No. 2, 268–274 Copyright 2008 by the American Psychological Association 0278-6133/08/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/0278-6220.127.116.118
Abstract or Table of Contents
Objective: We ask whether subjective socioeconomic status (SES) predicts who develops a common cold when exposed to a cold virus. Design: 193 healthy men and women ages 21-55 years were assessed for subjective (perceived rank) and objective SES, cognitive, affective and social dispositions, and health practices. Subsequently, they were exposed by nasal drops to a rhinovirus or influenza virus and monitored in quarantine for objective signs of illness and self-reported symptoms. Main Outcome Measures: Infection, signs and symptoms of the common cold, and clinical illness (infection and significant objective signs of illness). Results: Increased subjective SES was associated with decreased risk for developing a cold for both viruses. This association was independent of objective SES and of cognitive, affective and social disposition that might provide alternative spurious (third factor) expla- nations for the association. Poorer sleep among those with lesser subjective SES may partly mediate the association between subjective SES and colds. Conclusions: Increased Subjective SES is associated with less susceptibility to upper respiratory infection, and this association is independent of objective SES, suggesting the importance of perceived relative rank to health.