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External colloquium - May 10 - Tim Huijts (Utrecht University)

08 januari 2012
May 10, 2012, 12:30-14:30, B136 Gadourekzaal:
Tim Huijts (Utrecht University): The National Context of Health and Well-Being: A Specification of Mechanisms, Contexts, and Outcomes

Social inequalities in health and well-being have been examined extensively in social epidemiology and medical sociology. During the last few years, it has been acknowledged that the national context affects health and well-being in addition to characteristics of the individual (e.g., SES and age) and the proximate social context (e.g., partners, parents, peers, and neighborhoods). Moreover, the strength of social inequalities in health and well-being depends strongly on national characteristics (e.g., health policy). This implies that micro-, meso-, and macro-level factors interact in affecting health and well-being, and that strategies to reduce social inequalities in health and well-being need to address all of these levels jointly. In this presentation, I present a theoretical framework outlining how the health and well-being of individuals is shaped by the interplay between individual and contextual characteristics. Additionally, I discuss the main limitations of existing work in this field: theoretical mechanisms linking the national context to health and well-being are often not clearly articulated, and national characteristics as well as health outcomes are often measured by unspecific typology measures (e.g., welfare regimes) or summary indicators (e.g., self-rated health). As a result of these limitations, scientific and policy implications of existing studies in this field are often limited. Five examples of recent published and unpublished work are used to demonstrate the possibilities and restrictions for making improvements in this line of research: (1) the interplay between individual and national social networks and health, (2) the role of economic conditions in socioeconomic inequalities in health, (3) health systems and inequalities in mortality amenable to health care, (4) gender equity and the gender gap in depression, and (5) policy, economic development, and health damaging behaviour. Methodologically, I discuss the possibilities and limitations of using several multilevel regression methods in this type of research.

Tim Huijts is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Utrecht University / ICS. In April 2011 he defended his PhD thesis (cum laude) on social ties and health in a cross-national perspective at the Radboud University Nijmegen. His research interests include health inequalities, multilevel analysis, health damaging behaviour, health and family policy, and societal openness and mobility. He published in international journals such as the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, European Journal of Public Health, European Sociological Review, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Social Science & Medicine, and Sociology of Health and Illness.
Laatst gewijzigd:04 juli 2014 21:29

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