What is missing from how we measure and understand the experience of poverty and deprivation in population health analyses?

Timpson, K., McCartney, G. , Walsh, D. and Chabanis, B. (2023) What is missing from how we measure and understand the experience of poverty and deprivation in population health analyses? European Journal of Public Health, (doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckad174) (PMID:37862435) (Early Online Publication)

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Background: Explaining why some populations are healthier than others is a core task of epidemiology. Socioeconomic position (SEP), encompassing a broad range of exposures relating to economic circumstances, social class and deprivation, is an important explanation, but lacks a comprehensive framework for understanding the range of relevant exposures it encompasses. Methods: We reviewed existing literature on experiential accounts of poverty through database searching and the identification of relevant material by experts. We mapped relevant concepts into a complex systems diagram. We developed this diagram through a process of consultation with academic experts and experts with direct experience of poverty. Finally, we categorized concepts on the basis of whether they have previously been measured, their importance to the causal flow of the diagram, and their importance to those consulted, creating a list of priorities for future measurement. Results: There are a great many aspects of SEP which are not frequently measured or used in epidemiological research and, for some of these, work is needed to better conceptualize and develop measures. Potentially important missing aspects include stigma, social class processes, access to education, sense of lost potential, neighbourhoods, fairness and justice, emotional labour, masking poverty, being (in)visible, costs, and experiences of power. Conclusions: Analyses seeking to understand the extent to which SEP exposures explain differences in the health of populations are likely to benefit from a comprehensive understanding of the range and inter-relationships between different aspects of SEP. More research to better conceptualize and measure these aspects is now needed.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Early Online Publication
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Chabanis, Ms Berengere and McCartney, Professor Gerard and Walsh, Dr David and Timpson, Miss Katharine
Authors: Timpson, K., McCartney, G., Walsh, D., and Chabanis, B.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > General Practice and Primary Care
College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:European Journal of Public Health
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1464-360X
Published Online:20 October 2023
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2023 The Authors
First Published:First published in European Journal of Public Health 2023
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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