Are social comparisons of homes and cars related to psychosocial health?

Ellaway, A. , Macdonald, L. , Macintyre, S., Kearns, A. and Hiscock, R. (2004) Are social comparisons of homes and cars related to psychosocial health? International Journal of Epidemiology, 33(5), pp. 1065-1071. (doi: 10.1093/ije/dyh197)

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Background. It has been suggested that perceiving oneself to be inferior to those around one is a psychosocial risk factor associated with ill health. The aim of this study was to examine whether negative social comparisons of the worth of two common assets (homes and cars) were related to psychosocial health (i.e. lower self-esteem and mastery, higher anxiety, and depression). Methods. A postal questionnaire was sent to a random sample of adults in the West of Scotland (sampling from the 1997 electoral roll, response rate was 50%, achieved sample 2838). Results. Having adjusted for socio-demographic variables, rating one's house/flat as worth less than others was associated with lower self-esteem (P < 0.001) and mastery (P < 0.001) and higher depression (P < 0.007) and anxiety (P < 0.012). Rating one's car as worth less than others was not significantly associated with these psychosocial variables. Conclusions. Our findings lend some support, but only in relation to the home, to the hypothesis that perceiving oneself to be worse off in relation to those around is related to poorer psychosocial health.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ellaway, Dr Anne and Macintyre, Professor Sally and Kearns, Professor Ade and MacDonald, Mrs Laura
Authors: Ellaway, A., Macdonald, L., Macintyre, S., Kearns, A., and Hiscock, R.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Journal Name:International Journal of Epidemiology
ISSN (Online):1464-3685
Published Online:15 July 2004

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