Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Dr. Kim Shuey


This paper analyzes the extent to which social class influences perceptions of health among Canadians and Americans. Self-rated health (SRH) is a valid predictor of morbidity and mortality, but what is not known is whether there are social class differences in the overlap between more objective indicators of health, such as the presence of disease or activity limitations, and subjective reports such as SRH. In this analysis I use the Joint Canada/United States Survey of health to assess whether, within categories of SRH, lower class individuals fare worse on objective health indicators than upper class individuals. I use cross-tabular analysis to assess group difference in rates of chronic illnesses (asthma, diabetes, and heart disease), difficulty with activities, and depression across levels of SRH, social class and nationality. Results indicate that regardless of perceived health status, lower-class individuals cite more health problems than upper-class individuals. Class differences exist in both countries, but are more exaggerated in the United States, a finding which is discussed in terms of its association with broader welfare state policies, including health care.



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