What Is Social Status in Psychology?


Jane Flores

Social status is a term that has been used to describe an individual’s position within society. In psychology, social status refers to the perceived or actual level of an individual’s standing in relation to others in a group or society.

It is often described as a hierarchy that is based on factors such as wealth, power, and prestige. In this article, we will explore what social status means in psychology and how it affects individuals and groups.

What Determines Social Status?

There are various factors that determine an individual’s social status. These factors may include:

  • Wealth – This refers to an individual’s financial resources and assets.
  • Occupation – The type of job an individual holds can also have an impact on their social status.
  • Education – The level of formal education an individual has completed can impact their social status.
  • Power – This refers to the ability to influence others and make decisions that affect others.
  • Prestige – This refers to the level of respect or admiration an individual receives from others in society.

The Effects of Social Status

Social status can have both positive and negative effects on individuals. Those with high social status may experience benefits such as better access to resources, increased respect from others, and greater opportunities for success. However, those with low social status may experience negative effects such as discrimination, decreased access to resources, and limited opportunities for success.

Social Status and Mental Health

Research suggests that social status can play a role in mental health outcomes. Individuals with low social status may experience higher levels of stress due to financial difficulties and lack of access to resources. They may also experience feelings of shame or inadequacy due to societal expectations surrounding success and achievement.

Social Status and Relationships

Social status can also impact an individual’s relationships with others. Those with high social status may have more social connections and opportunities to form new relationships. However, they may also experience pressure to maintain their status and be wary of others who may be seeking to gain access to their resources.

On the other hand, individuals with low social status may experience difficulty forming new relationships due to a lack of resources or feelings of inadequacy. They may also be more likely to form relationships with individuals who are also experiencing low social status.


In conclusion, social status is an important concept in psychology that refers to an individual’s perceived or actual position within society. It can impact various aspects of an individual’s life, including mental health and relationships.

While it can provide benefits for those with high social status, it can also have negative effects on those with low social status. By understanding the factors that contribute to social status, we can work towards creating a more equal and just society for all individuals.