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Behavioral science at the crossroads in public health: Extending horizons, envisioning the future

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  • Glass, Thomas A.
  • McAtee, Matthew J.

Abstract

The social and behavioral sciences are at a crossroads in public health. In this paper, we attempt to describe a path toward the further integration of the natural and behavioral sciences with respect to the study of behavior and health. Three innovations are proposed. First, we extend and modify the "stream of causation" metaphor along two axes: time, and levels of nested systems of social and biological organization. Second, we address the question of whether 'upstream' features of social context are causes of disease, fundamental or otherwise. Finally, we propose the concept of a risk regulator to advance the study of behavior and health in populations. To illustrate the potential of these innovations, we develop a multilevel framework for the study of health behaviors and obesity in social and biological context.

Suggested Citation

  • Glass, Thomas A. & McAtee, Matthew J., 2006. "Behavioral science at the crossroads in public health: Extending horizons, envisioning the future," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(7), pages 1650-1671, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:62:y:2006:i:7:p:1650-1671
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Worsley, Anthony & Wang, Wei C. & Hunter, Wendy, 2013. "Gender differences in the influence of food safety and health concerns on dietary and physical activity habits," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 184-192.
    2. Martin, Molly A. & Lippert, Adam M., 2012. "Feeding her children, but risking her health: The intersection of gender, household food insecurity and obesity," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(11), pages 1754-1764.
    3. Reczek, Corinne & Umberson, Debra, 2012. "Gender, health behavior, and intimate relationships: Lesbian, gay, and straight contexts," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(11), pages 1783-1790.
    4. Umberson, Debra & Liu, Hui & Mirowsky, John & Reczek, Corinne, 2011. "Parenthood and trajectories of change in body weight over the life course," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(9), pages 1323-1331.
    5. Rhodes, Tim & Watts, Louise & Davies, Sarah & Martin, Anthea & Smith, Josie & Clark, David & Craine, Noel & Lyons, Marion, 2007. "Risk, shame and the public injector: A qualitative study of drug injecting in South Wales," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 572-585, August.
    6. Clark, Alexander M., 2013. "What are the components of complex interventions in healthcare? Theorizing approaches to parts, powers and the whole intervention," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 185-193.
    7. Carrasco, Maria A. & Bilal, Usama, 2016. "A sign of the times: To have or to be? Social capital or social cohesion?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 127-131.
    8. Hyder, Adnan A. & Noor, Zarin & Tsui, Emma, 2007. "Intimate partner violence among Afghan women living in refugee camps in Pakistan," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(7), pages 1536-1547, April.
    9. Kane, Jennifer B. & Frisco, Michelle L., 2013. "Obesity, school obesity prevalence, and adolescent childbearing among U.S. young women," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 108-115.
    10. Shivani A. Patel & Susan G. Sherman & Subarna K. Khatry & Steven C. LeClerq & Joanne Katz & James M. Tielsch & Parul Christian, 2016. "An Index of Community-Level Socioeconomic Composition for Global Health Research," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 129(2), pages 639-658, November.
    11. Grundy, John & Hoban, Elizabeth & Allender, Steve & Annear, Peter, 2014. "The inter-section of political history and health policy in Asia – The historical foundations for health policy analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 150-159.
    12. repec:kap:poprpr:v:36:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s11113-017-9430-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. John Ayers & C. Hofstetter & Suzanne Hughes & Hae-Ryun Park & Hee-Young Paik & Yoon Song & Veronica Irvin & Melbourne Hovell, 2010. "Gender modifies the relationship between social networks and smoking among adults in Seoul, South Korea," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 55(6), pages 609-617, December.

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