Subjective social status predicts wintertime febrile acute respiratory illness among women healthcare personnel

Mark G. Thompson, Allison Naleway, Sarah Ball, Emily M. Henkle, Leslie Z. Sokolow, Jennifer Williams, Sue Reynolds, Sarah Spencer, David K. Shay, Beth Brennan, Manjusha J. Gaglani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective: We ask whether subjective social status (SSS) predicts rates of wintertime febrile acute respiratory illness (ARI). Methods: 1,373 women and 346 men were enrolled from September 1 through November 30, 2010 as part of a prospective cohort study of health care personnel (HCP) at two medical centers. A questionnaire was completed at enrollment followed by 20 weeks of surveillance. ARI was an illness with fever and cough self-reported via weekly telephone or Internet-based surveillance. Results: For both sexes, lower SSS was associated with younger age, less education, lower neighborhood household income, being unmarried, lower occupational status, working in outpatient settings, and poorer self-rated health status. Demographic and occupational covariates explained 23% and 42% of the variance (R2) in SSS among women and men, respectively. Smoking, exercise frequency, and sleep quality were also associated with SSS, but these factors explained little additional variance (3-4%). Among women HCP, lower SSS at enrollment was associated with higher rates of subsequent ARI (unadjusted β = -21 [± .05], p < .001 for ordinal data). Adjusting for all covariates reduced the effect size of the SSS minimally (adjusted β = -19 [± .06], p < .001). Among men HCP, there was no univariate SSS-ARI association and after adjusting for all covariates the effect was opposite of our hypothesis (adjusted β = .33 [± .17], p < .05). Conclusions: Women (but not men) with lower SSS were more likely to report an ARI during surveillance, and the SSS-ARI association was independent of demographics, occupational status, health, and health behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-291
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute respiratory illness
  • Psychoneuroimmunology
  • Sleep
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Subjective social status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Subjective social status predicts wintertime febrile acute respiratory illness among women healthcare personnel'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this