Neuroendocrine Biomarkers, Subjective Social Status and Health in Taiwan

Omer Gersten, Academia Sinica
Tom Boyce, University of British Columbia
Paola Timiras, University of California, Berkeley

Both objective and, more recently, subjective measures of low social status have been linked to poor health outcomes. It is unclear, however, through which precise physiological mechanisms such standing may influence health, although it has been proposed that those of lower status may have biomarker profiles that are more dysregulated (and hence pose greater risk for poorer health). The paper here, then, investigates whether lower subjective social standing is associated with riskier neuroendocrine biomarker profiles. For our paper we analyze data from the Social Environment and Biomarkers of Aging Study, a nationally representative survey of Taiwanese men and women conducted in Taiwan in 2000. We focus on five neuroendocrine markers (cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine) in relation to self-reported levels of social status in Taiwan and in the community. Our main finding is that we find little connection between measures of status -- either measured through self-report or objective indicators of socioeconomic status -- and riskier biomarker profiles.

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Presented in Session 137: Biomarkers, BMI and Socioeconomic Differentials in Health