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A Historical Framework for Social Epidemiology: Social Determinants of Population Health 

A Historical Framework for Social Epidemiology: Social Determinants of Population Health
Chapter:
A Historical Framework for Social Epidemiology: Social Determinants of Population Health
Author(s):

Lisa F. Berkman

and Ichiro Kawachi

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780195377903.003.0001
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date: 29 May 2020

This chapter presents a historical framework for social epidemiology. Social variations in morbidity and mortality have been observed for centuries throughout the world. Social epidemiology is that branch of epidemiology concerned with the way that social structures, institutions, and relationships influence health. Social epidemiologists are concerned with the ways that societies are organized to produce or impede the development and maintenance of good health. This chapter reviews the historical development of social epidemiology and discusses (1) integration of how social experiences influence physiologic stress responses, (2) a more nuanced understanding of the distribution of population health, and (3) the evaluation of health impacts of social and economic policies. When these approaches are integrated with lifecourse and multilevel analytical approaches, they illustrate how our social world powerfully shapes distributions of health.

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