Social Determinants of Health in US Populations


  • Link and Phelan. 1995. “Social Conditions as Fundamental Causes of Disease” Journal of Health and Social Behavior pp.80-94
    • In this foundational article, social epidemiologists Bruce Link and Jo Phelan argue three main points:
      1.  social conditions (e.g., SES, inequality, racism, segregation) have a causal effect on health and well-being,
      2. to understand patterns of disease prevalence and incidence, we need to contextualize risk factors and understand what conditions put people “at risks of risks” (i.e., people in poor neighborhoods have an elevated risk of exposure to crime which increases the risk of stress accumulation), and
      3. researchers need to acknowledge that social conditions are not just distal causes of disease, they are FUNDAMENTAL causes, meaning that the relationship between the social conditions (e.g., SES) and health is robust and will remain present even as the risk factors for disease and the leading causes of disease/death change.
    • This is because high SES individuals are afforded flexible resources that they can use to avoid risks and minimize the consequences of disease.
  • Frieda, Misha. 2016. “For Native Americans, Health Care Is a Long, Hard Road Away”.
    • NPR :
  • Social Determinants of Health PPT