Objective This paper examines whether multidimensional indicators of objective and subjective socioeconomic status (SES) across the life course can be categorized into latent classes of SES mobility and tests the associations of these categories with inflammation markers among White and Black adults.
Methods Data are from 592 non-Hispanic White and 158 non-Hispanic Black participants who completed both the baseline survey and biomarkers assessment of the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) Refresher study. Groups of different SES mobility were examined using latent class analysis.
Results White and Black participants showed different patterns of SES mobility. Among Blacks, the latent classes were: 1) Objectively Always High (24.71%; high objective SES across the life course), 2) Subjectively Always High (6.48%; high subjective and low objective SES across the life course), 3) Downwardly Mobile (35.84%; high childhood SES, low adult SES, and 4) Always Low (32.97%; low childhood SES, education, and adult SES). Among Whites, the latent classes were: 1) Always High (52.17%; high childhood SES, high education, high adult SES), 2) Upwardly Mobile (18.14%; low childhood SES, high education, high adult SES), 3) Subjectively Downward (27.74%; high childhood SES, high education, high objective adult SES, low subjective adult SES), and 4) Always Low (1.95%; low childhood SES, education, and adult SES). SES mobility was associated with inflammation in White (Wald χ2’s  = 12.89-17.44, p < .050), but not in Black adults (Wald χ2’s  = 2.79-7.22, p > .050).
Conclusion The lack of SES mobility differentiation on inflammation is an indication of diminished return for the most affluent class among Black participants.
Surachman, A., Rice, C., Bray, B., Gruenewald, T., & Almeida, D. (2019). Association between socioeconomic status mobility and inflammation markers among white and black adults in the United States: A latent class analysis. Psychosomatic Medicine. DOI: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000752
American Psychosomatic Society