Ethnicity moderates the influence of perceived social status on subjective sleep quality

Burel R Goodin, Lynanne McGuire, Michael T Smith
Behavioral Sleep Medicine 2010, 8 (4): 194-206
It has long been recognized that socioeconomic status (SES) influences health and health-related behaviors, and it has been suggested that the adverse impact of low SES on health may be partly mediated by poor sleep quality. The relation between sleep and objective and subjective measures of SES has only been explored in a preliminary manner, providing indirect evidence that associations between SES and health might be explained, in part, by disrupted sleep. However, it remains unclear whether low SES directly affects sleep quality or whether the SES-sleep quality relation varies as a function of ethnicity given robust ethnic disparities across SES-related factors. This study examined the relation between perceived social status (i.e., individuals' perception of their socioeconomic standing) and subjective sleep quality among 149 college students, and examined the moderating effect of ethnicity to determine whether the magnitude or direction of association differed among Caucasian, Asian, and African Americans. Using hierarchical regressions and a dummy-coded ethnicity variable, results demonstrated significant moderation (ΔR₂ = 0.04, p = .02), such that both Asian (p = .04) and African Americans (p = .02) were significantly different from Caucasian Americans. Lower perceived social status was related to greater impairment in sleep quality for Asian Americans (β = -.37, p < .01) and African Americans (β = -.51, p < .01), but not Caucasian Americans (β = -.02, p = .87). These findings provide initial support for the negative impact of low perceived social status on sleep quality for specific subgroups of ethnic minorities.

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