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Applying Socioeconomic Model


Socioeconomic model is an effective model of public health, which effectively elucidates occurrence of health disparities in various neighborhoods owing to socioeconomic factors. Socioeconomic factors that are present in various social settings such as neighborhood play a significant role in determining health status of individuals in a neighborhood. Brenner, Zimmerman, Bauermeister, and Caldwell (2013) argue that socioeconomic disadvantage is a neighborhood stressor that has significant influence on the lives of people living in segregated urban settings that are common in the American society. Therefore, the essay examines how the socioeconomic model is applicable in elucidating and addressing the health issue of socioeconomic disadvantage, which is a neighborhood stressor.

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Socio-Economic Model and Socio-Economic Stressor

Socioeconomic model allows analysis of a health issue using different hierarchical levels. Brenner et al. (2013) examines socioeconomic stressor as a health issue, which affect perceived stress that people experience during the period of middle adolescent development through adulthood development. Regarding the issue of socioeconomic stressor, the lowest level of the model covers intrapersonal factors such as income level, education level, substance abuse, stress level, age, gender, and coping capacity. The second level of the model examines interpersonal issues such as social support in terms of family, peers, and neighbors. Organizations that surround the neighborhood such as schools, employers, police stations, healthcare centers, and faith institutions comprise a third level of the socioeconomic model.

The fourth level of the model deals with community and the study focused on Flint community in Michigan. Segregated neighborhood, socioeconomic inequality, unemployment, and violent neighborhood are some of the stressors common in the Flint community (Brenner et al., 2013). The society or social policy is the fix level of the socioeconomic model, which focuses on policies related to urban planning, employment, health, education, segregation, discrimination, and racism. Meyers (2008) states that the five levels of socioeconomic model provide key areas for policy action geared towards eliminating health disparities in the society. Therefore, the developments of effective public health interventions, which focus on each level of the model, are imperative in addressing the health issue of socioeconomic stressor. The figure 1 below depicts the socioeconomic model of the health issue presented in the article.

Socio-Economic Model (SEM)

Socio-Economic Model (SEM)
Figure 1.

The application of the socioeconomic model to the neighborhood stressor of socioeconomic disadvantage is an effective strategy because it elucidates determinants of health at personal, interpersonal, organizational, communal, and societal levels. Since human health is complex, the application of models like socioeconomic model simplifies human health and provides multi-approaches of understanding and exposing determinants of health in a given social setting. According to McLeroy, Bibeau, Steckler and Glanz (1988), ecological model of health provides a comprehensive approach of health issues and diverse interventions targeted at personal, organizational, communal, and societal aspects of human lives. Likewise, ecosocial theory holds that ecological, social, and biological organization of populations provides structures, which enable resolution of health issues. Therefore, the application of socioeconomic model is central in public health because it increases effectiveness of health interventions and programs.


Socioeconomic model is a public health model that enhances elucidation of determinants of health among a given population. The model categorizes health issues into intrapersonal, interpersonal, organizational, communal, and societal levels, which have unique determinants of health. The application of the model in elucidating socioeconomic stressor among the populations of Flint community in Michigan is effective because it covers all facets of public health. Hence, the model is important in public health because it provides an empirical assessment of health issues and offers customized interventions.


Brenner, A. B., Zimmerman, M. A., Bauermeister, J. A., & Caldwell, C. H. (2013). Neighborhood context and perceptions of stress over time: An ecological model of neighborhood stressors and intrapersonal and interpersonal resources. American Journal of Community Psychology, 51(3-4), 544-556.

Krieger, N. (2001). Theories for social epidemiology in the 21st century: An ecosocial perspective.International Journal of Epidemiology, 30(4), 668–677.

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McLeroy, K. R., Bibeau, D., Steckler, A., & Glanz, K. (1988). An ecological perspective on health promotion programs. Health Education and Behavior, 15(4), 351–377.

Meyers, K. (2008). Beyond Equal Care: How Health Systems Can Impact Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. The Permanente Journal, 12(1), 75-80.

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