Areas of Inquiry

Social Conditions as Fundamental Causes of Health Inequalities

Why has the association between socio-economic status (SES) and health been so persistent across different places and times? According to the theory of fundamental causes, the principle reason for this persistence is that SES embodies a set of flexible resources - knowledge, money, power, prestige, and beneficial social connections – that can be used in different places and at different times to avoid disease and death.

Stigma, Prejudice, and Discrimination

Stigma, prejudice, and discrimination are important problems in their own right, and they are related to health in many ways. Some health-related conditions are strongly stigmatized; this stigmatization sets in motion processes of discrimination operating at structural, interpersonal, and intrapersonal levels that can result in diminished life chances in every major domain of life. Equally important, stigma, prejudice, and discrimination based on demographic characteristics may have harmful consequences for both mental and physical health.

Race and Ethnicity

Intergenerational Socioeconomic Influences on Health

Socioeconomic position is a complex social construct, comprising interconnected but conceptually distinct dimensions at the individual-level, i.e., education, occupation and income, the household-level, which characterizes familial resources, and the neighborhood level, which describes aspects of living conditions not captured by individual or household level variables. Its influence on health extends across the life course and it is also an intergenerational phenomenon.

Inequality in Early Life Determinants of Health

In concert with its sister center, the Imprints Center for Genetic and Environmental Life Course Studies, the Inequalities Center seeks an understanding of the interplay between social inequalities and health across the life course.