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D. Measuring Social Status and Disease

Narrator: This is Science Today. Physical and emotional health are known to be affected by social relationships, but a University of California, San Francisco psychologist has found that more specifically, there's an important link between one's perceived social status and their health. Nancy Adler helped develop a tool designed to measure how people perceive their social status.

Adler: What we've created was literally a social ladder. We showed people a ladder with ten rungs and said - imagine everyone in US society is somewhere on this ladder, that people at the top are the best off. They have the most income, the best jobs, most education. People at the bottom are the worst off - where would you place yourself?

Narrator: Where people placed themselves correlated to a number of physical and mental health indicators, including susceptibility to the common cold. Adler also used this scale to link adolescents' perception of their social status to obesity and depression.

Adler: So the question of how early on this gets socialized and how you can help kids develop a better sense of themselves.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.