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Simulation Models for Socioeconomic Inequalities in Health: A Systematic Review
Institute of Health and Society (IRSS), Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels 1200, Belgium
Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics & Occupational Health, McGill University, Montreal, QC H3A0G4, Canada
Department Ecological Modelling, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research—UFZ, Leipzig 04318, Germany
Department of Virology, Parasitology and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Ghent 9000, Belgium
These authors contributed equally to this work.
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 September 2013; in revised form: 14 October 2013 / Accepted: 16 October 2013 / Published: 4 November 2013
Abstract: Background: The emergence and evolution of socioeconomic inequalities in health involves multiple factors interacting with each other at different levels. Simulation models are suitable for studying such complex and dynamic systems and have the ability to test the impact of policy interventions in silico. Objective: To explore how simulation models were used in the field of socioeconomic inequalities in health. Methods: An electronic search of studies assessing socioeconomic inequalities in health using a simulation model was conducted. Characteristics of the simulation models were extracted and distinct simulation approaches were identified. As an illustration, a simple agent-based model of the emergence of socioeconomic differences in alcohol abuse was developed. Results: We found 61 studies published between 1989 and 2013. Ten different simulation approaches were identified. The agent-based model illustration showed that multilevel, reciprocal and indirect effects of social determinants on health can be modeled flexibly. Discussion and Conclusions: Based on the review, we discuss the utility of using simulation models for studying health inequalities, and refer to good modeling practices for developing such models. The review and the simulation model example suggest that the use of simulation models may enhance the understanding and debate about existing and new socioeconomic inequalities of health frameworks.
Keywords: models; simulations; socioeconomic; health
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Speybroeck, N.; Van Malderen, C.; Harper, S.; Müller, B.; Devleesschauwer, B. Simulation Models for Socioeconomic Inequalities in Health: A Systematic Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10, 5750-5780.
Speybroeck N, Van Malderen C, Harper S, Müller B, Devleesschauwer B. Simulation Models for Socioeconomic Inequalities in Health: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2013; 10(11):5750-5780.
Speybroeck, Niko; Van Malderen, Carine; Harper, Sam; Müller, Birgit; Devleesschauwer, Brecht. 2013. "Simulation Models for Socioeconomic Inequalities in Health: A Systematic Review." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 10, no. 11: 5750-5780.