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Social epidemiology

The social conditions under which people are born and live have profound and far-reaching implications for their health. Social epidemiology is the study of the social determinants of physical and mental health. Such social determinants are non-medical and non-biological factors, including social relationships, stress, adverse life experiences, education, income, social protection, unemployment, working life conditions, neighborhood and community context, health care access and quality, the wider societal structure in which we are embedded, and many more.

Our research at Department of Clinical Epidemiology aims at improving the understanding of how social determinants influence physical and mental health and vice versa. We are interested in understanding both how these factors act alone, but also how they interact with each other and with biological determinants. In particular, we focus on the importance of socioeconomic position (e.g., education, income, employment) for the development of and prognosis after developing somatic diseases and mental disorders. Another focus area is the social inequality in the incidence and consequences of diseases, e.g., cancers or mental disorders. Of special interest is the influence of social determinants on patient and provider treatment, adherence to treatment, treatment adverse effects and complications. Finally, our research on social relationships focuses on loneliness, isolation, and poor social support and their association with mental disorders and other health conditions.

Selected DCE publications