Network Ties, Upward Status Heterophily, and Unanticipated Health Consequences

Chang Hwan Kim, Harris Hyun-soo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Using cross-national data containing information on the status rank of network alters, this study investigates the potential negative effects of “upward status heterophily,” ties to and perceived interaction with higher status others. According to our main finding, upward status heterophily is associated with poor physical health and lower subjective well-being. We also find that this focal relationship varies across individual and contextual moderators. For subjective well-being only, it is weaker among people who are better educated, have larger nonkin network, and possess greater self-efficacy. Moreover, there is a significant cross-level interaction: For both health outcomes, the relationship is more pronounced in subnational regions that are economically more unequal. Our findings shed light on the mechanisms of the “dark side of social capital” by operationalizing perceived status differential as a proxy for upward social comparison and showing its deleterious consequences in the East Asian context.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Health and Social Behavior
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: For the current study, ChangHwan Kim received support from the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2020S1A3A2A03096777).

Publisher Copyright:
© American Sociological Association 2023.


  • physical health
  • relative deprivation
  • social comparison
  • subjective well-being
  • upward status heterophily


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