Income and occupation; standards of housing, sanitation and nutrition; and the level of provision of health, educational, recreational and other services, may all be used as measures of socioeconomic stress. While poverty causes illness by depriving man of his basic needs of shelter and adequate nutrition, the type of poverty plays a large role in determining the type and extent of stress. People born into poverty are less susceptible to mental disorders than those upon whom poverty has been thrust by misfortune; the sense of social rejection and injustice felt by those who have memories of something better is a potent medium for psychological disorders resultant from socioeconomic stress.
Studies and reports show that persons committing or attempting suicide are overrepresented among the more affluent. A high incidence is associated with loss of occupation and lack of work for reasons other than illness; and ischaemic heart disease is also more prevalent in upper socioeconomic groups.