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An intersectional approach in social epidemiology: Understanding health heterogeneity

Wemrell, Maria LU (2017)
Abstract
Critical debates within the science of (social) epidemiology concern the relative lack
of social theory in epidemiological research and the low discriminatory accuracy (DA)
of much epidemiological knowledge on factors and markers of risk for disease.
Against this background, this thesis integrates intersectionality theory into
epidemiological study. The purposes are to improve the understanding of
heterogeneities in population groups and thus increase DA, and to incorporate a
theoretical framework that directs attention toward power dynamics driving the
production of health disparities as well as toward their measurement. An
intersectionality perspective is incorporated into empirical study of risk for... (More)
Critical debates within the science of (social) epidemiology concern the relative lack
of social theory in epidemiological research and the low discriminatory accuracy (DA)
of much epidemiological knowledge on factors and markers of risk for disease.
Against this background, this thesis integrates intersectionality theory into
epidemiological study. The purposes are to improve the understanding of
heterogeneities in population groups and thus increase DA, and to incorporate a
theoretical framework that directs attention toward power dynamics driving the
production of health disparities as well as toward their measurement. An
intersectionality perspective is incorporated into empirical study of risk for ischemic
heart disease in Sweden, and of influenza vaccination uptake in the US. A categorical
intersectionality perspective is operationalized through assessment of difference in
average risk between intersectional strata. The measurement of the DA of the social
and racial/ethnic categorizations used is aligned to an anti-categorical intersectionality perspective, as this DA is found to be low due to heterogeneities within and/or overlaps between groups.

Despite the integration of intersectionality theory, the DA of the social and
racial/ethnic categories under study remains low. Such measurements of low DA
point to a current limitation in knowledge about causation mechanisms and
individual heterogeneity in (social) epidemiology. This project has therefore been
partially driven by an interest in other possible ontological ways of understanding
health, risk and prevention of disease, found in complementary or alternative forms of
medicine (CAM). The thesis includes a pilot study measuring the use of, and
attitudes towards, CAM and conventional medicine in Skåne, the southernmost
province of Sweden. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • professor Stronks, Karien, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
pages
116 pages
publisher
Lund University, Faculty of Medicine
defense location
Kvinnokliniken, Skånes Universitetssjukhus i Malmö
defense date
2017-11-27 13:00
ISBN
978-91-7619-509-3
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
07c6c858-b332-4936-a00d-d8c19329b4cd
date added to LUP
2017-10-26 09:22:19
date last changed
2017-10-27 12:07:44
@phdthesis{07c6c858-b332-4936-a00d-d8c19329b4cd,
  abstract     = {Critical debates within the science of (social) epidemiology concern the relative lack<br/>of social theory in epidemiological research and the low discriminatory accuracy (DA)<br/>of much epidemiological knowledge on factors and markers of risk for disease.<br/>Against this background, this thesis integrates intersectionality theory into<br/>epidemiological study. The purposes are to improve the understanding of<br/>heterogeneities in population groups and thus increase DA, and to incorporate a<br/>theoretical framework that directs attention toward power dynamics driving the<br/>production of health disparities as well as toward their measurement. An<br/>intersectionality perspective is incorporated into empirical study of risk for ischemic<br/>heart disease in Sweden, and of influenza vaccination uptake in the US. A categorical<br/>intersectionality perspective is operationalized through assessment of difference in<br/>average risk between intersectional strata. The measurement of the DA of the social<br/>and racial/ethnic categorizations used is aligned to an anti-categorical intersectionality perspective, as this DA is found to be low due to heterogeneities within and/or overlaps between groups.<br/><br/>Despite the integration of intersectionality theory, the DA of the social and<br/>racial/ethnic categories under study remains low. Such measurements of low DA<br/>point to a current limitation in knowledge about causation mechanisms and<br/>individual heterogeneity in (social) epidemiology. This project has therefore been<br/>partially driven by an interest in other possible ontological ways of understanding<br/>health, risk and prevention of disease, found in complementary or alternative forms of<br/>medicine (CAM). The thesis includes a pilot study measuring the use of, and<br/>attitudes towards, CAM and conventional medicine in Skåne, the southernmost<br/>province of Sweden.},
  author       = {Wemrell, Maria},
  isbn         = {978-91-7619-509-3},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {116},
  publisher    = {Lund University, Faculty of Medicine},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {An intersectional approach in social epidemiology: Understanding health heterogeneity},
  year         = {2017},
}