Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: November 27, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412953948 | Print ISBN: 9781412928168 | Online ISBN: 9781412953948| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Social epidemiology is a field that primarily focuses on the investigation of the social determinants of population distributions of health, disease, and well-being. In contrast to many other fields in epidemiology, social epidemiology places emphasis on the causes of incidence of disease (i.e., the ‘causes of causes’), which may be very different from the causes of individual cases of disease. This entry describes several fundamental concepts within the field of social epidemiology, including socioeconomic status, social networks, race/ethnicity, residential segregation, social capital, income inequality, and working conditions, and details how these factors have been conceptually and empirically related to health. The entry also briefly discusses some of the core statistical methods that have been applied. The concept of SES is commonly used in the social epidemiologic literature to refer to the material and social resources and prestige that characterize individuals and that can allow individuals to be grouped according to ...