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Health Determinants
- Social and Behavioural

Social epidemiology focuses its attention on the manner in which social circumstances (wealth, poverty, power, status, social involvement, occupation, leisure activities, lifestyle and so on) influence disease. Our risk of falling sick (and of subsequent recovery) are influenced by the balance between pathogens and our ability to resist them. Social determinants of disease affect both of these. Social epidemiologists study environmental and behavioural factors that predict exposure to etiological agents, whether biological or chemical. Behavioural psychologists emphasize the role of stress, which results from excess demands on the individual and operates ultimately through the neuroendocrine system to influence disease. Economists emphasize financial factors which both determine access to clean and safe environments and health services, but also predict exposure to a wide range of environmental hazards. Sociologists, meanwhile, focus on social support, social networks and social capital in helping people cope with the vicissitudes of daily life.


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