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Social Determinants of Psychiatric Illness 

Social Determinants of Psychiatric Illness
Chapter:
Social Determinants of Psychiatric Illness
Author(s):

Kristen Nishimi

, Esther Howe

, and Erin C. Dunn

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190849986.003.0005
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date: 08 March 2021

The social determinants of health refer to the ways in which societal conditions impact the etiology, course, and treatment of health outcomes. This chapter summarizes four main topics related to the social determinants of mental health in order to provide a framework for clinicians to understand the major social determinants of mental illness and help them incorporate insights about the social determinants of health into their clinical practice. First, we demonstrate how social determinants are related to the field of public health and population health frameworks. Second, we describe how knowledge of social determinants can inform psychiatric clinical practice. Third, we summarize research on four major social determinants—gender, socioeconomic status, childhood adversity, and school and neighborhood environments—with respect to depression risk. Last, we show how information about social determinants can be integrated with more individual-level factors, including genetic variation.

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