The effects of labelling and health identity on subjective health

Hee Jin Jeon, Kaylin Ratner, Qi Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Labels are used to describe people every day, and these labels can affect people's subjective health. However, little is known about how existing health identity (i.e., stable identification with being a healthy person) shapes these effects. This study examined the effect of health-related labelling on subjective health, and the potential role of existing health identity in moderating this association. Methods: Participants (N = 309) first answered questions related to their health identity, namely, the extent to which they identified with being a healthy person. Next, they were presented with a series of scenarios reflecting healthy (n = 154) or unhealthy (n = 155) labels. Participants' subjective health ratings were then measured using a self-report scale ranging from (0) “Worst health among age” to (100) “Best health among age.”. Results: Beyond chronological age effects, exposure to healthy labels was associated with higher ratings of subjective health. Participants with a greater health identity showed an amplified positive response to being labelled a healthy person. Conclusions: Social-cognitive processes, both in terms of stable identity and situational labelling, inform subjective health. These perceptions may impact actual health downstream. Our results suggest that health identity and health-related labels may be used in future interventions to bolster objective health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-187
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Journal of Health Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • health
  • identity
  • labels
  • subjective health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'The effects of labelling and health identity on subjective health'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this