Background Several previous studies have established the relationship between the effects of socioeconomic status or subjective social strata on life satisfaction. However, no previous study has examined the relationship between social class and life satisfaction in terms of a disparity between subjective and objective social status. Objective To investigate the relationship between differences in subjective and objective social class and life satisfaction. Methods Data from the Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging with 8252 participants aged 45 or older was used. Life satisfaction was measured by the question, “How satisfied are you with your quality of life?” The main independent variable was differences in objective (income and education) and subjective social class, which was classified according to nine categories (ranging from high-high to low-low). This association was investigated by linear mixed model due to two waves data nested within individuals. Results Lower social class (income, education, subjective social class) was associated with dissatisfaction. The impact of objective and subjective social class on life satisfaction varied according to the level of differences in objective and subjective social class. Namely, an individual's life satisfaction declined as objective social classes decreased at the same level of subjective social class (i.e., HH, MH, LH). In both dimensions of objective social class (education and income), an individual's life satisfaction declined as subjective social class decreased by one level (i.e., HH, HM, HL). Conclusion Our findings indicated that social supports is needed to improve the life satisfaction among the population aged 45 or more with low social class. The government should place increased focus on policies that encourage not only the life satisfaction of the Korean elderly with low objective social class, but also subjective social class.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)
- Geriatrics and Gerontology