The Australian Centre for Student Equity and Success acknowledges Indigenous peoples as the Traditional Owners of the lands on which our campuses are situated. With a history spanning 60,000 years as the original educators, Indigenous peoples hold a unique place in Australia. We recognise the importance of their knowledge and culture, and reflect the principles of participation, equity, and cultural respect in our work. We pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future, and consider it an honour to learn from our Indigenous colleagues, partners, and friends.

You are reading: A Longitudinal Study of the Relations Among University Students’ Subjective Social Status, Social Contact with University Friends, and Mental Health and Well-Being

Written by Mark Rubin, Olivia Evans and Ross B. Wilkinson

Published in Guilford Journals

November 2016


Prior research has found that the higher one’s perceived status in society, the better one’s mental health and well-being. The present research used a longitudinal design to investigate whether social contact with friends mediated this relation between subjective social status and mental health and well-being among first-year undergraduate students at an Australian university (Wave 1 N = 749, Wave 2 N = 314). Participants completed an online survey that included measures of subjective social status, social contact with university friends during the past week, and mental health and well-being during the past week. Multiple regression analyses found that subjective social status positively predicted amount of social contact with university friends, and that both of these variables positively predicted subsequent mental health and well-being. Furthermore, bootstrapped mediation tests found that social contact with university friends acted as a significant mediator of the relations between social status and mental health and wellbeing. These results are discussed in terms of their implications for the mental health and well-being of lower class students at university.

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