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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 212-213

Socioeconomic status scale: Tool to eliminate social disparity in India

Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication17-Aug-2014

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2348-3334.138912

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Socioeconomic status scale: Tool to eliminate social disparity in India. CHRISMED J Health Res 2014;1:212-3

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Socioeconomic status scale: Tool to eliminate social disparity in India. CHRISMED J Health Res [serial online] 2014 [cited 2021 Sep 18];1:212-3. Available from: https://www.cjhr.org/text.asp?2014/1/3/212/138912


Socioeconomic status (SES) is defined as the place that an individual or a family occupies in contrast to the existing standards of cultural and material ownership, income, and involvement in group activities of the community. [1] The SES categorization in an individual is one of the significant determinants of the health- and morbidity/mortality-associated indicators. [2] Considering that people living below the poverty line should deserve more attention, stratification of communities using SES scales provides an opportunity for the program managers to implement targeted interventions. [1],[2] In addition, SES also has a significant impact on the accessibility, affordability, acceptability, and actual utilization of available health facilities. [2] Furthermore, it is indispensable to perceive the SES of the community in order to correlate its impact on the health and quality of living standards. [3] These socioeconomic categories have assisted the public health professionals to recognize the variable pattern of the occurrence of a disease or adoption of specific health practices. [1],[2]

A range of factors such as exposure to a heterogeneous physical environment, delivery of healthcare services, genetic predisposition, education status, and a variable attitude of individuals towards a condition/diseases, have been cited as the contributory factor to predict the frequent occurrence of a specific condition in a particular social class. [1] In other words, policy makers should target these parameters in order to modify the natural history of a disease in individuals from different socioeconomic categories. [2],[3]

SES is one of the most important social determinants of health and disease, thus, widely studied in almost all the community-based research activities. [2] Generally, it is recommended to use composite scales (viz. social and economic variables) for classifying SES of an individual. [1],[3]

Different types of SES classification scales such as Kuppuswamy SES classification (viz. based on three parameters, namely education and occupation of the head of the family along with monthly income of the family), BG Prasad classification (viz. based on the per capita monthly income), and Udai Pareekh and Trivedi classification (viz. based on nine characteristics-caste, occupation, education, level of social participation, possession of the land, housing, farm power, material possession, and type of the family) have been utilized separately for rural and urban populations over the years in India. [1],[3],[4]

Multiple studies have revealed a significant association between the SES and incidence/prevalence of various health-related conditions such as preferences of women for contraceptives and the source of the providers, [5] health information seeking behavior, [5] prevalence of lifestyle disorders, [1] development of overweight and obesity, [1] prevalence of anemia, [2],[5] adoption of high risk behavior, [6] life expectancy, [1] and on the quality of life. [7]

To conclude, the SES of an individual has a definite impact on different dimensions of health, and thus the health professionals should work together to mitigate socioeconomic disparities in healthcare utilization by strengthening the primary level of healthcare.

  References Top

1.Park K. Medicine and social sciences. In: Park K, editor. Textbook of Preventive and Social Medicine. 20 th ed. Jabalpur: Banarsidas Bhanot; 2009. p. 600-3.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Ramesh Masthi NR, Gangaboraiah, Kulkarni P. An exploratory study on socio economic status scales in a rural and urban setting. J Family Med Prim Care 2013;2:69-73.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Kumar RB, Dudala SR, Rao AR. Kuppuswamy's socio-economic status scale: A revision of economic parameter for 2012. Int J Res Dev Health 2013;1:2-4.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Dudala SR, Arlappa N. An updated Prasad's socio economic status classification for 2013. Int J Res Dev Health 2013;1:26-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Wang MP, Wang X, Lam TH, Viswanath K, Chan SS. Health information seeking partially mediated the association between socioeconomic status and self-rated health among Hong Kong Chinese. PLoS One 2013;8:e82720.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Pilic L, Dzakula A. Socioeconomic status and risky health behaviors in Croatian adult population. Acta Med Croatica 2013;67:25-35.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Dzubur A, Mehic B, Dzubur A, Filipovska-Musanovic M, Denjalic A, Hasanbegovic I. Quality of life for tobacco smokers in relation to their socioeconomic status. Med Glas (Zenica) 2014;11:210-5.  Back to cited text no. 7


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