Special Issue "Disparities in Health-Risk Behaviors and Health"

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Celia C. Lo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Sociology, Texas Woman’s University, 304 Administration Dr, Denton, TX 76204, USA
Interests: alcohol and drugs; mental health; disparities in health-risk behaviors and health; health and illness; deviance and crime; victimization
Dr. William Ash-Houchen
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Social Science, Delta State University, 1003 W Sunflower Rd, Cleveland, MS 38733, USA
Interests: substance use and misuse; health and health risk; victimization and victimization-related offending; race, gender, sexualities, and crime
Prof. Dr. Tyrone C. Cheng
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Social Work, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487, USA
Interests: access to health services; welfare policies; intimate partner violence; substance use and misuse; mental health and child welfare

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Because they have become ingrained in our society and societies worldwide, disparities in health-risk behaviors and health require far-reaching investigation, supporting greater uniformity across groups. The deep-seated nature of discrimination, stigmatization, and marginalization in our social structure means that the human rights and health of too many individuals suffer while social injustice and inequity persist. Health and illness are linked to social structure by the lack of health information and access and health-risk behaviors such as use of tobacco, alcohol, and other substances; lack of adequate physical exercise; obesity. The aftereffects of health risk behavior are also found in the perpetration of violent and other criminal behaviors.

Since it emerged a year ago, the global COVID-19 pandemic has affected lives worldwide and lent further urgency to the challenge of eradicating health disparities. Structural disadvantages, such as those related to race or ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age, or specific health conditions, such as immunodeficiency or immunocompromised status, also create disadvantages in terms of severe illness from COVID-19. Relatively higher rates of confirmed infections and deaths have been observed among disadvantaged world citizens. Health disparities, such as this (along with disparities in health-behaviors), have racism at their core. As the global social movement Black Lives Matter illustrated in the second half of 2020, racism operates both on its own and intersectionally with other social statuses to create disparities in health-risk behaviors and health. These two global events, pandemic and BLM, have brought relief—quite glaringly—to institutionalized inequity and systemic discrimination characteristic of global public health systems. 

This Special Issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health plans to assemble papers identifying and discussing (1) social determinants of disparities in health-risk behaviors and health, (2) social mechanisms responsible for these persistent disparities, and (3) policies and practices recommended for reducing disparities. Submissions of research articles touching on the causes, dynamics, and consequences of disparities are enthusiastically invited. Use of qualitative, quantitative, and/or mixed methods in submitted research is welcome. 

Prof. Dr. Celia C. Lo
Dr. William Ash-Houchen
Prof. Dr. Tyrone C. Cheng
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • disparities
  • health-risk behaviors
  • health/mental health
  • social structure
  • public health
  • acute and chronic illness
  • access to and quality of health care
  • disability

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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