" Feeling" hierarchy: The pathway from subjective social status to achievement

Mesmin Destin*, Scott Richman, Fatima Varner, Jelani Mandara

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


The current study tested a psychosocial mediation model of the association between subjective social status (SSS) and academic achievement for youth. The sample included 430 high school students from diverse racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Those who perceived themselves to be at higher social status levels had higher GPAs. As predicted by the model, most of the relationship was mediated by emotional distress and study skills and habits. The lower SSS students had more depressive symptoms, which led to less effective studying and lower GPA. The model held across different racial/ethnic groups, was tested against alternative models, and results remained stable controlling for objective socioeconomic status. Implications for identity-based intervention are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1571-1579
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Achievement
  • Adolescents
  • Motivation
  • Social status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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