MacLeod M, Johnston M, Briscoe S, Graham E & Dibben C (2001) A comparison a day keeps the doctor away, or does it?. ESRC Health Variations Programme Newsletter, (5), pp. 10-11. http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/fass/projects/hvp/pdf/nl5art7.pdf
When did you last compare yourself with someone? Engaging in social comparisons is an everyday feature of mental life. We are particularly likely to make such comparisons when faced with unfamiliar situations or when we feel threatened. This is often the case if we fall seriously ill: we compare ourselves with others who have also experienced illness or some other misfortune. Further, it is possible that the making of such comparisons in itself has an effect on how we cope with and recover from illness - and thus contributes to the socio-economic gradient in health. This gradient - in which being only slightly less well off than the least deprived is sufficient to incur a comparative deficit in health - is apparent in both mortality and morbidity and in relation to particular causes of death, including myocardial infarction (MI).
ESRC Health Variations Programme Newsletter, Issue 5