Another important aspect of the theory is that rank is, in part, subjective and relative.All relationships are marked by class scrutiny: Am I higher or lower than this person?While sociologists and epidemiologists have examined its effects in broad domains such as health outcomes and mortality, few researchers have explored how we process class internally and psychologically.
The implications are larger than breakfast choice, he adds."It suggests that the contexts we grow up in and are socialized in are an important part of what shapes the self," he says.That said, these researchers see class on a continuum, rather than as a fixed distinction among upper, middle and lower class.In their view, the higher in socioeconomic status you are, the more independently oriented you are likely to be, while the lower in status you are, the more group-minded you are likely to be, for example."At least in the studies we've run so far, we've found that middle-class folks are more independent than lower-class folks, but less so than their upper-class counterparts," Kraus explains."Class affects whether someone is going to be accepted into a particular kind of school, their likelihood of succeeding in that school, the kinds of jobs they have access to, the kinds of friends they make" — in essence, the degree of status, power and perks people enjoy or lack in their daily lives.