From the APS Journal Archive: Socioeconomic Status and Health – What Is the Role of Reserve Capacity?

‘Socioeconomic Status and Health – What Is the Role of Reserve Capacity?’ by Linda C. Gallo, Karla Espinosa de los Monteros and Smriti Shivpuri1 was published in Current Directions in Psychological Science in October 2009 and has been cited 6 times (via Web of Science) since publication.

Click here to read the article in full.


A robust, linear association between socioeconomic status (SES) and health has been identified across many populations and health outcomes. This relationship is typically monotonic, so that each step down the SES hierarchy brings increased vulnerability to disease and premature mortality. Despite growing attention to health disparities, scientists and policymakers have made little progress toward confronting their causes and implementing effective solutions. Using the reserve capacity model (Gallo & Matthews, 2003) as an organizing framework, the current article examines the contribution of resilient psychosocial resources to socioeconomic disparities in physical health. Findings suggest that deficient psychosocial resources, such as low perceptions of control and social support, may be one of many factors that connect low SES with poor health. Additional research is needed to test these relationships and their underlying mechanisms, to consider interventions to enhance reserve capacity, and to evaluate the efficacy of such efforts in fostering resilience to socioeconomic hardship.

1San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology

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