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Special Issue "Social and Economical Determinants of Health"
A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2012).
Interests: social determinants of health/health disparities; societal conditions, particularly policy; conceptual/methodological issues in social research
The contribution of our social and economic circumstances to our lived experiences and thus, to our health, has been well established. In every society and for most health outcomes, incremental changes in socioeconomic status are associated with incremental changes in health status; a phenomenon which has come to be known as the socioeconomic gradient in health. On the other hand, the extent and particular characteristics of the gradient seem to differ across time and place. Together, these findings have provided powerful motivation to understand the context which leads both to the durable aspects of the effect of socioeconomic circumstances on health, and to the elements of context which may play a role in the observed variation in the gradient. In turn, this has led to a proliferation of studies, from the role of localities (such as neighborhoods) to the national and global environments. Our insights, however, are still limited. Much more work is needed to understand the link between socioeconomic circumstances, context, and health. At the same time, over the past few decades, we have begun to gain much more sophisticated understandings of how socioeconomic circumstances 'get under the skin' to influence brain and biological development. Studies of stress response pathways, brain development, allostatic load and epigenesis have shown that socioeconomic circumstances can become 'biologically embedded' in ways that can influence health across the life course. But the role of context and the nature of biological embedding are far from understood. Are there current contexts - such as contemporary economic trends - which provide new insights? Are there contexts which have remained underexplored? How are socioeconomic circumstances connected to biological mechanisms in different settings and for different aspects of health? We seek research that addresses these and other relevant questions in rigorous and novel ways and, in so doing, furthers scientific understandings.
Dr. Arjumand Siddiqi
- social determinants of health
- socioeconomic status
- biological mechanisms