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Determinants of Health: Factors Influencing Health Status

Income and Social Status

  • Income and social hierarchy determine the health status
  • High income; safe housing, quality medical care (Comers, 2013)
  • Low income; poor health care, housing, food
  • Prosperity promotes human wellbeing (“Determinants of health,” 2011)
  • Low social status; inadequate resources (Comers, 2013)
  • High social status; adequate resources

Social Support Networks

  • Support from families and friends improves health (Marmot & Wilkinson, 2005)
  • Necessary in dealing with adversity and tough situations
  • Great sense of satisfaction and well-being (Comers, 2013)
  • Respect and love enhances general well-being
  • The feeling of being cared for and loved (Marmot & Wilkinson, 2005)
  • Enhances stress management and emotional wellness (Comers, 2013)


  • Health status dependent on the level of education (“Determinants of health,” 2011)
  • Education determines the financial and socioeconomic status
  • Quality education brings prosperity (Marmot & Wilkinson, 2005)
  • Illiteracy; poverty, and high rates of unemployment
  • Education guarantees steady income and a quality lifestyle
  • Income facilitates access to quality health care (“Determinants of health,” 2011)

Employment and Working Conditions

  • Unemployment and underemployment; poor health outcomes
  • Unsafe working conditions; poor health (“Determinants of health,” 2011)
  • Safe working environments; positive health outcomes
  • Fulfilling work promotes mental and physical well-being (Marmot & Wilkinson, 2005)
  • Employment gives purpose and innumerable opportunities
  • Professional and personal development improve health status

Social Environments

  • Strong social networks in families and communities (Marmot & Wilkinson, 2005)
  • Attachments among people and sharing of resources
  • Societal values and norms influence relationships (Marmot & Wilkinson, 2005)
  • Social stability and recognition of diversity improve health (Comers, 2013)
  • Supportive communities provide numerous health benefits
  • Personal safety and relationships based on trust

Physical Environments

  • Clean physical environments promote health status
  • Contaminants in air and water cause diseases (“Determinants of health,” 2011). Physical well-being determined by proper housing
  • Clean air and water are important (“Determinants of health,” 2011)Respiratory diseases prevalent in contaminated environments (Comers, 2013)
  • Contaminated environments; birth defects and cancer prevalent (“Determinants of health,” 2011)

Personal Health Practices

  • Prevention of diseases and self-care promotion
  • Develop self-reliance and coping skills against stress (“Determinants of health,” 2011)
  • Choices that promote positive health outcomes
  • Drinking adequate water and eating nutritious food (Comers, 2013)
  • Avoiding smoking or excessive alcohol consumption
  • Healthy lifestyles and development of problem-solving skills (“Determinants of health,” 2011)

Healthy Child Development

  • Early child development determines health in adulthood
  • Optimal brain development in childhood is critical (“Determinants of health,” 2011)
  • Housing, family income, and environment affect development (“Determinants of health,” 2011)
  • Access to nutritious food and medical care
  • Positive stimulation important for proper development (“Determinants of health,” 2011)
  • Proper and responsible parenting during childhood

Biology and Genetic Make-Up

  • Genetic make-up determines predisposition to diseases
  • Certain health problems prevalent among men/women
  • Inherited qualities determine response to health challenges (“Determinants of health,” 2011)
  • Cancer, Down syndrome, and Hemophilia are genetic
  • Genetic endowment increases the risk of certain diseases (“Determinants of health,” 2011)
  • Genetic make-up has positive and negative outcomes

Health Services

  • Promote and maintain health, and prevent diseases
  • Restore health and optimal human function
  • Access to health services influences health status (“Determinants of health,” 2011)
  • Encompasses treatment modalities and disease-prevention strategies
  • Barriers; high cost, unavailability, and language challenges (“Determinants of health,” 2011)
  • Prevent hospitalizations and provide appropriate care


  • Gender roles, values, and traits are critical
  • Gender-based social status influences health (“Determinants of health,” 2011)
  • Women live longer than men
  • Women more prone to depression and arthritis (“Determinants of health,” 2011)
  • Physical and sexual violence is gender-based
  • Gender influences health systems’ practices


  • Dominant cultural values affect health status
  • Marginalization and stigmatization are culture-based (“Determinants of health,” 2011)
  • Limited access to culturally suitable medical services
  • Some cultures alienate women and children
  • Cultural values determine the socio-economic environment (“Determinants of health,” 2011)
  • Chronic diseases prevalent among certain cultures


  • Local and national policies affect population health
  • Taxes on certain products can enhance health
  • Certain policies promote changes in individual behavior (“Determinants of health,” 2011)
  • Government plays a key role in policymaking
  • Increase access to health care services (“Determinants of health,” 2011)
  • Access to proper housing and proper nutrition

Individual Behavior

  • Plays a key role in health outcomes
  • Avoidance of substance abuse and immoral behavior (“Determinants of health,” 2011)
  • Physical activity and proper diet (“Determinants of health,” 2011)
  • A positive lifestyle reduces the prevalence of diseases
  • Willingness to make healthy and responsible decisions ((“Determinants of health,” 2011)
  • Maintaining proper hygiene; food, housing, clothing

Several Determinants

  • Each factor affects health in a distinct way.
  • Several determinants usually occur in association.
  • Attainment of health and well-being is difficult
  • Poverty, ignorance, and unemployment are prevalent
  • Lack of insurance, oppressive cultural norms
  • Weal health care systems, expensive medical care


Comers, M. J. (2013). Determinants of health; Theory, understanding, portrayal, policy. New York, NY: Springer Science & Business Media.

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Determinants of health. (2011). Web.

Marmot, M., & Wilkinson, R. (2005). Social determinants of health. Oxford, England: OUP Oxford.

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