Socioeconomic disparities in health behaviour: An evolutionary perspective

Gillian V. Pepper, Daniel Nettle

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Socioeconomic disparities in health behaviour are a reliable finding across many societies. Individuals of lower socioeconomic status more frequently undertake behaviours detrimental to health (e.g. smoking) than those of higher socioeconomic status. Despite a large volume of research on the subject, there is still no consensus on the causes of these disparities. In this chapter, we discuss nine categories of explanation which have been put forward in the social science literature. We then outline a complementary behavioural- ecological approach based on the idea that as extrinsic mortality increases, the payoff to investment in preventative health behaviour declines. We discuss how this evolutionary approach alters the interpretation of existing explanations, allowing us to reorganise the nine categories of explanation into three; ultimate, proximate and constraint based. We then discuss how this perspective can help to guide future research in public health.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationApplied Evolutionary Anthropology: Darwinian Approaches to Contemporary World Issues
PublisherSpringer
Pages225-243
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4939-0280-4
ISBN (Print)9781493902804
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

NameApplied Evolutionary Anthropology: Darwinian Approaches to Contemporary World Issues

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Socioeconomic disparities in health behaviour: An evolutionary perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this