Social Determinants of Health

Robert L. Ferrer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


The chronic diseases prevalent in a society are heavily influenced by its social, cultural, and technical history. “Social determinants of health” is a system of ideas for describing how health is socially patterned, exploring causal pathways between social conditions and human health and illness. As people age, their physiology comes to reflect the social conditions they have lived. Embodiment occurs through long causal chains starting with a political process that determines whether or not opportunities for health and well-being are widely shared. Equitably distributed life chances in education, neighborhood environment, food, housing, employment, leisure time, and other areas are the foundation of population health. Limited life chances harm health in two ways: by shaping behaviors-unhealthy diet, low physical activity, smoking-linked to chronic disease, and through unhealthy physiological pathways activated by chronic stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationChronic Illness Care
Subtitle of host publicationPrinciples and Practice, Second Edition
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9783031291715
ISBN (Print)9783031291708
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023


  • Allostatic load
  • Capability approach
  • Chronic disease
  • Health behavior
  • Health disparities
  • Health in all policies
  • Health inequity
  • Health literacy
  • Income inequality
  • Life course
  • Population health
  • Social determinants of health
  • Social justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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