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Melvin Stephens, Estimating Program Benefits

"Feeling Poor": Perceived Economic Position and Environmental Mastery among Older Americans

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Karraker, Amelia. 2014. ""Feeling Poor": Perceived Economic Position and Environmental Mastery among Older Americans." Journal of Aging and Health, 26(3): 474-494.

This study examines the relationship between perceived economic position (PEP), objective socioeconomic status, and environmental mastery among older Americans. Using data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP), I examine (a) whether PEP is associated with environmental mastery even after accounting for objective economic status and (b) whether the relationship between PEP and mastery varies by reference group (peers, Americans). I find that high PEP is associated with higher mastery while low PEP is associated with lower mastery, even after controlling for objective economic status. In general, the relationship between PEP and mastery does not vary whether PEP relative to peers or PEP relative to American families is examined. These analyses provide insights into the important role of social comparisons in the connection between socioeconomic status and psychological well-being in the later life course.

DOI:10.1177/089826431452229 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC3981921. (Pub Med Central)

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