Best practices in conceptualizing and measuring social class in psychological research

Matthew A. Diemer, Rashmita S. Mistry, Martha E. Wadsworth, Irene López, Faye Reimers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

333 Scopus citations


An extensive body of research has documented the relation between social class, as indexed by socioeconomic status (SES) and subjective social status (SSS), and a host of outcomes, including physical and mental health, academic achievement, and educational attainment. Yet, there remains ambiguity regarding how best to conceptualize and measure social class. This article clarifies definitional and measurement issues related to the assessment of SES and SSS, addresses their importance and relevance for psychological research, and reviews best practices with regard to measurement and assessment. We conclude by discussing the integration of social class with other markers of social position to promote the advancement of psychological science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-113
Number of pages37
JournalAnalyses of Social Issues and Public Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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