Social Behavioral Health Exam 1 Ch. 3

Epidemiology
The study of diseases and disease patterns in a given population
Incidence
The number of NEW cases per designated time period (ex. per 100000 persons/year)
Prevalence
the total number of cases in a population at a particular time
Risk Factors
factors associated with the etiology of the disease; ex. Diet, use of alcohol, tobacco, exercise habits, and distribution of body fat
Social Epidemiology
Identification of the psychosocial risk factors associated with patterns of disease w/in and across populations; Poses questions about differences in morbidity and mortality by gender, age, SES, and race/ethnicity
Behavioral Epidemiology
Focuses on behaviors that contribute to etiology of disease, targets lifestyle factors
Cultural Epidemiology
Investigates relationship b/w disease patterns and cultural factors; Includes research on distribution of cultural beliefs w/in a populations
Socioeconomic Status
Measured by education and occupation, but most often only by income
Lack of good data on SES makes it difficult to formulate health policies that address affects of poverty
US does not routinely report health statistics by income level
Race used as proxy for SES
Difficult to formulate policies that address effects of poverty
SES is one of the strongest predictors of morbidity and premature mortality
Why do people at top enjoy longer and healthier life?
• More resources – poor families don’t have income to purchase clean safe adequate nutritious food
• Psychosocial Stress- people with limited economic resources exhibit higher stress
• Health Selection – poor health status determines social position; people who are less healthy are less productive and drift down the socioeconomic ladder; mostly rejected theory
• Early – Life Exposure – education, cultural advantages, genetics, affect social and health status in later life
• Access to Health Care – people with no access to health care are at greater risk for wide variety of health problems
• Health Behavior – poor people behave in ways that make them more likely to get sick; ex. Smoking, drinking, lack of physical activity
Casual Continuum
Social ecology of health model; Framework based on differing degrees of directness of effect for various etiologic factors affecting health
Proximal variables
direct influence on health and illness are

• Behavioral variables, specific activities
o Ex: Diet, sleep, substance abuse, unsafe sex

Distal variables
more removed and affect problems more indirectly; macro level, socio-demographic, sociocultural and environmental factors; background causes that predispose people

• Structural or fundamental causes
o Poverty, education, urban or rural residency, racism!!

Intermediate variables
act as buffers for distal factors and link proximal to distal; may operate as intervening variables to channel negative influence

• Community level risk factors
o Occupation, social support, health care resources

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