Capability and clinical success

Robert L. Ferrer, Alejandra Varela Carrasco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Better outcomes for chronic diseases remain elusive because success depends on events outside the control of the health care system: patients' ability to mange their health behaviors and chronic diseases. Among the most powerful influences on self-management are the social and environmental constraints on healthy living, yet the clinical response to these environmental determinants is poorly developed. A potential approach for addressing social determinants in practice, as well as planning and evaluating community responses, is the capability frame-work. Defined as the real opportunity to achieve a desired lifestyle, capability focuses attention on the material conditions that constrain real opportunity and how opportunity emerges from the interaction between personal resources and the social environment. Using examples relevant to chronic disease and behavior change, we discuss the clinical application of the capability framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)454-460
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of family medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2010


  • Delivery of health care/organization and administration
  • Health behaviors
  • Health care disparities
  • Models, theoretical
  • Social environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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