English | 2006

Rank and Health: A Conceptual Discussion of Subjective Health and Psychological Perceptions of Social Status

By: Pierre Morin

[Psychotherapy and Politics International Volume 4, Issue 1, 2006.]

The social dimensions of health and illness have been extensively studied from a materialistic angle. The non-material or subjective factors of social experience affecting health have only recently received some attention. This paper introduces a new multidimensional concept of rank, which includes social dimensions as well as non-materially based elements of emotional, psychological, and spiritual strength. It proposes that rank is an important addition to the current literature of socioeconomic inequality and health and examines its relevance for the discussion of how social status inequalities affect people’s global health. It suggests that rank as a signifier of power contributes to feelings of powerlessness and leads to worsened health outcomes. This paper suggests that perceived rank may play a role in the SES effect on self-reported health. It presents a new conceptual and therapeutic model to address issues of rank-based discrimination in health care.

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