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Epidemiological Methods in Life Course Research$
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Andrew Pickles, Barbara Maughan, and Michael Wadsworth

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780198528487

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198528487.001.0001

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Measurement and design for life course studies of the social environment and its impact on health

Measurement and design for life course studies of the social environment and its impact on health

Chapter:
(p.61) Chapter 3 Measurement and design for life course studies of the social environment and its impact on health
Source:
Epidemiological Methods in Life Course Research
Author(s):

Barbara Maughan

Michael Wadsworth

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198528487.003.0003

This chapter discusses issues in the measurement of the social environment, and in the interpretation of health-environment associations, in life course studies. It differentiates measures of individuals' ‘micro’ social worlds — typically deriving from the family, the workplace, and close social relationships — from ‘macro’ influences deriving from the broader social and cultural context, and provides examples of how each can be used in testing hypothesized associations between environmental influences and health. In addition, it examines practical issues in the use of such indicators in life course studies, and outlines both the challenges and the opportunities for life course epidemiology that arise from the recent rapid pace of social change.

Keywords:   social interaction, biological interaction, micro social measures, macro social environment, social environment, health-environmental associations

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