OBJECTIVES: This article discusses methods of examining subjective social status (SSS), which is based on the concept of social determinants of health described by Wilkinson and Marmot in 1998.
METHODS: SSS research was conducted with Cooperation from the Scientific and Technical Research (COST) program, with financial support from the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. This study is part of a project entitled the "Health and Social Status of Immigrants and Asylum Seekers in the Czech Republic" (registration number OC 10031), which was started in 2010 and concluded in May 2011. The study included 246 respondents of which: 69 (28.1%) had emigrated from Vietnam; 93 (37.8%) from the Ukraine; and 84 (34.1%) from Mongolia. In terms of qualitative strategies, 13 individual immigrants and asylum seekers were personally interviewed. This research was thus conceived as being both quantitative-qualitative, which included the use of the appropriate technical tools (i.e., questionnaires and interviews with select immigrants and asylum seekers). SSS was determined using the Pearson's chi-square test, as well as through correspondence and cluster analyzes. Sign schemes were used to detect select significant relationships in contingency tables. The minimum significance level chosen was α ≤ 0.05.
RESULTS: When examining the SSS of select nationalities, differences were observed in the perception of subjective social status. The correspondence analysis results clearly show that Ukrainians best perceived their social status (within the selected parameters). One measure of subjectively perceived social status related to Czech language proficiency (i.e., one criterion was the comprehension of spoken Czech; e.g., whether the respondent could read or speak Czech, or how they assessed their own Czech proficiency).
CONCLUSION: The SSS study clearly revealed typical links among select nationalities living in the Czech Republic, and highlighted risks related to the degree of integration (and its relationship to social exclusion). This study served as a pilot project for follow-up research conducted by the second COST project entitled: "Social Determinants of Health and their Impact on the Health of Immigrants Living in the Czech Republic" (registration number LD 13044 COST). The follow-up study included 1 000 respondents of Slovak, Vietnamese, Ukrainian, Russian and Polish nationality and is currently underway at the Faculty of Health and Social Studies at the University of South Bohemia in the Czech Republic. The methodological tools used were taken from the COST pilot project (which is the topic of this article) and were adjusted as needed (i.e., both objective and subjective criteria were used for examining social status).