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Reconstructing the mixed mechanisms of health: the role of bio- and sociomarkers

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It is widely agreed that social factors are related to health outcomes: much research has served to establish correlations between classes of social factors on the one hand and classes of disease on the other hand. However, why and how social factors are an active part in the aetiology of disease development is something that is gaining attention only recently in the health sciences and in the medical humanities. In this paper, we advance the view that, just as biomarkers help trace the causal continuum from exposure to disease development at the biological level, sociomarkers ought to be introduced and studied in order to trace the social continuum from exposure to disease development. We explain how sociomarkers di er from social indicators and how they can be used in combination with biomarkers in order to reconstruct the mixed mechanisms of health and disease, namely mechanisms in which both biological and social factors have an active causal role.
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Keywords: AETIOLOGY OF DISEASE; BIOMARKER; EPIDEMIOLOGY; SOCIAL INDICATORS; SOCIOMARKER

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January, 2019

More about this publication?
  • Longitudinal and Life Course Studies (LLCS) is a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the needs of researchers studying the life course and using longitudinal methods at the interfaces of social, developmental and health sciences. It fosters cross-disciplinary and international endeavours and promotes the creation and exploitation of longitudinal data resources as well as their application to policy issues. As the journal of the Society for Longitudinal and Life Course Studies (SLLS) it provides an opportunity for scholars at all stages of their careers to publish work crossing disciplinary boundaries which is often beyond the scope of more conventional, single-field journals.

    Longitudinal research involves the follow up of individuals, households, communities or other groups over time. Life course study focuses on the influences that shape holistic pathways from conception to adult life and old age. LLCS brings together the broad range of specialist interests in an international, multi-disciplinary, multi-method framework.

    The Editors welcome submissions which report on research or methodological development, in one or more of these fields and from a spectrum of disciplinary approaches: sociological (quantitative and qualitative), demographic, economic, geographic, historical, psychological and behavioural, epidemiological and statistical. Typically papers deal with individual data in several domains (for example physical or mental health, education, housing, employment) as they change over time, and set in their life course and policy context. International comparisons are encouraged within papers and can be made between them.

    In addition to carrying research articles, the Journal specialises in publishing study profiles introducing particular longitudinal studies to scientific and policy users and the designers and managers of other studies It explores new forms of longitudinal data collection, including the exploitation of administrative sources. Occasionally, it also publishes edited debates and invited pieces about the research-policy interface, keynote addresses at SLLS conferences, and reviews of books of special relevance to our readership. The Editors seek to ensure that all research reporting is accessible to the journal's multi-disciplinary readership and encourage comparisons and collaborations between countries and studies. We are especially eager to showcase findings from parts of the world where longitudinal studies are increasingly being established, such as East Asia, Africa and South America. LLCS strives to maintain the highest quality in accepted papers through double-blind peer review, drawing on an international as well as interdisciplinary network of editors and reviewers.

    Back issues of Longitudinal and Life Course Studies are available via the PKP Platform.

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