Purpose: We investigate the impact of gaps between socioeconomic status (SES; household income and education) and perceived social class on suicidal ideation. Design and methods: Longitudinal data from the 2009 and 2011 Korean Health Panel Survey were used. Our sample consisted of 12,357 subjects included in the 2009 survey and 11,758 subjects included in the 2011 survey. We analyzed rates of suicidal ideation as a function of the gap between SES and perceived social class, defined as the difference between household income and education-high (H; college or higher), medium (M; high school), low (L; middle school or lower)-and perceived social class (H, M, and L). Results: Among respondents whose actual and perceived levels of household income (HH: odds ratio [OR] = 0.611 [95% CI [confidence interval]: 0.486-0.768], LL: OR = 1.829 [95% CI: 1.489-2.247]) and education (HH: OR = 0.788 [95% CI: 0.622-0.998], LL: OR 1.853 [95% CI: 1.476-2.328]) were the same, suicidal ideation increased as perceived social class decreased. The adjusted effect of the association between SES and perceived social class on suicidal ideation decreased according to the same pattern. Conclusions: This study suggests that the gap between SES and perceptions of one's position in the social hierarchy explains a substantial part of inequalities in suicidal ideation. It is important to consider the impact of the slopes of both gaps on suicidal ideation rather than focus only on perceived social class.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)
- Geriatrics and Gerontology