The authors of this groundbreaking text define social epidemiology as the study of the social determinants of health, implying that an important goal of public health is to identify and address factors in the social environment that may be related to health outcomes. In the first systematic account of this field, they focus on the major social variables that influence health, including socioeconomic position, income distribution, race/ethnicity, gender, social networks/social support, social capital and community cohesion, work environment, life transitions, and affective psychological states. Individual chapters describe the conceptualization and measurement of each social variable, as well as the empirical evidence linking them to a broad range of mental, physical, and behavioral health outcomes. The volume draws on the expertise of an internationally renowned group of scholars, representing the diversity of disciplines relevant to this emerging field, from sociology and psychology to physiology and medicine. The approaches covered by the chapters span the range from formulating and testing hypotheses about the links between social conditions and health to designing and implementing interventions and social policies to improve population health. The challenge of persistent social inequalities in health across the globe makes this a timely publication. The book will be an indispensable introduction to the field for students, researchers, practitioners, and policy analysts.
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