Provided by BBVA The Internet is the decisive technology of the Information Age, and with the explosion of wireless communication in the early twenty-first century, we can say that humankind is now almost entirely connected, albeit with great levels of inequality in bandwidth, efficiency, and price. People, companies, and institutions feel the depth of this technological change, but the speed and scope of the transformation has triggered all manner of utopian and dystopian perceptions that, when examined closely through methodologically rigorous empirical research, turn out not to be accurate. For instance, media often report that intense use of the Internet increases the risk of isolation, alienation, and withdrawal from society, but available evidence shows that the Internet neither isolates people nor reduces their sociability; it actually increases sociability, civic engagement, and the intensity of family and friendship relationships, in all cultures.
In addition, a growing body of research has documented associations between social and cultural factors and health Berkman and Kawachi, ; Marmot and Wilkinson, For some types of social variables, such as socioeconomic status SES or poverty, robust evidence of their links to health has existed since the beginning of official record keeping.
For other kinds of variables—such as social networks and social support or job stress—evidence of their links to health has accumulated over the past 30 years. The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of the social variables that have been researched as inputs to health the so-called social determinants of healthas well as to describe approaches to their measurement and the empirical evidence linking each variable to health outcomes.
It should be emphasized at the outset that the social determinants of health can be conceptualized as influencing health at multiple levels throughout the life course. Thus, for example, poverty can be conceptualized as an exposure influencing the health of individuals at different levels of organization—within families or within the neighborhoods in which individuals reside.
Moreover, these different levels of influence may co-occur and interact with one another to produce health. For example, the detrimental health impact of growing up in a poor family may be potentiated if that family also happens to reside in a disadvantaged community where other families are poor rather than in a middle-class community.
Furthermore, poverty may differentially and independently affect the health of an individual at different stages of the life course e. In short, the influence of social and cultural variables on health involves dimensions of both time critical stages in the life course and the effects of cumulative exposure as well as place multiple levels of exposure.
The contexts in which social and cultural variables operate to influence health outcomes are called, generically, the social and cultural environment.
Comprehensive surveys of current areas of research in the social determinants of health can be found in existing textbooks Marmot and Wilkinson, ; Berkman and Kawachi, These variables are highlighted because of their robust associations with health status and their well-documented and reliable methods of measuring these variables, and because there are good reasons to believe that these variables interact with both behavioral as well as inherited characteristics to influence health.
Socioeconomic differences in health are large, persistent, and widespread across different societies and for a diverse range of health outcomes. In the social sciences, SES has been measured by three different indicators, taken either separately or in combination: Although these measures are moderately correlated, each captures distinctive aspects of social position, and each potentially is related to health and health behaviors through distinct mechanisms.
Educational Attainment Education is usually assessed by the use of two standard questions that ask about the number of years of schooling completed and the educational credentials gained. The quality of education also may be relevant to health, but it is more difficult to assess accurately.
An extensive literature has linked education to health outcomes, including mortality, morbidity, health behaviors, and functional limitations. The relationship between lower educational attainment and worse health outcomes occurs throughout the life course.
For example, infants born to Caucasian mothers with fewer than 12 years of schooling are 2. An association between education and health in observational data does not necessarily imply causation.
Alternatively, the association between education and health may partly reflect confounding by a third variable, such as ability, which is a prior common cause of both educational attainment and health status.
The totality of the evidence suggests, nonetheless, that education is a causal variable in improving health.
Natural policy experiments—such as the passage of compulsory schooling legislation at different times in different localities within the United States—suggest that higher levels of education are associated with better health lower mortality Lleras-Muney, It is therefore likely that the association between schooling and health reflects both a causal effect of education on health, as well as an interaction between the level of schooling and inherited characteristics.
Several causal pathways have been hypothesized through which higher levels of schooling can improve health outcomes.Jun 29, · The Negative Effect of Social Media on Society and Individuals by Lainie Petersen; Updated June 29, The Negative Effect of Social Media on Society and Individuals.
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Social and Cultural Factors that Can Influence Your Health. Share. Print. Advertisement. Here are some examples of major social factors that can influence your health. Education. Your education level can have an effect on how healthy you are. Education gives you the tools you need to make good decisions about your health.