Special Issue "Reducing Health Inequities: Social Epidemiology Insights for Public Health and Social Policy"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Alison K. Cohen
Leading Guest Editor
Public and Nonprofit Administration, School of Management, University of San Francisco, 2130 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA, 94117, USA
Interests: community-based participatory research; environmental health; epidemiology; health disparities; health equity; public health; social epidemiology
Dr. Stephanie R. Carroll
Guest Editor
Department of Community, Environment, & Policy, Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health; Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy; Native Nations Institute; Center for Indigenous Environmental Health Research, University of Arizona, 1295 N. Martin Avenue, PO Box 245210, Tucson, AZ 85724, USA
Interests: environmental health; Indigenous data sovereignty; Native American health; public health; social factors
Ms. Catherine dP. Duarte
Guest Editor
Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of California Berkeley2121 Berkeley Way West, Berkeley, CA, 94720, USA
Interests: epidemiology; health equity; racism; education; school discipline; criminal legal system; policy; structural factors; intersectionality

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue welcomes all papers that are studying issues of health equity using methods from social epidemiology. We expect papers to thoughtfully characterize the social factors studied and discuss the potential mechanisms by which they could affect the health outcomes measured, drawing from previous theoretical and/or empirical research. Papers must also include in the discussion section clear implications for how the research can inform public health actions and/or social policies.
This Special Issue will include both original research articles and literature reviews. Original research articles should thoroughly describe the population and measures. We encourage studies of and with populations underrepresented in the public health literature, including community-based participatory research studies. Literature reviews should be systematic literature reviews or explain why a systematic literature review was not possible. We will do a rapid editorial review of any papers that are analyzing COVID-19-related data. Papers that conduct rigorous analyses that lead to null findings are also welcome.

Dr. Alison K. Cohen
Dr. Stephanie R. Carroll
Dr. Catherine dP. Duarte
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.


  • community-based participatory research
  • COVID-19
  • epidemiology
  • health disparities
  • health equity
  • population health
  • public health
  • public policy
  • social epidemiology
  • social factors
  • social policy

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessBrief Report
Inequality-Related Health and Social Factors and Their Impact on Well-Being during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Findings from a National Survey in the UK
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(3), 1014; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18031014 - 24 Jan 2021
Background: Lower socioeconomic groups and disadvantaged populations across the world suffer disproportionately from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This study aimed to examine the impact of health- and social-inequality–related factors on well-being in order to further distinguish each of their effects during [...] Read more.
Background: Lower socioeconomic groups and disadvantaged populations across the world suffer disproportionately from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This study aimed to examine the impact of health- and social-inequality–related factors on well-being in order to further distinguish each of their effects during the pandemic. Methods: A nationally-representative sample of 5077 UK respondents aged 18 years or older was recruited through an online survey panel during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their subjective well-being was measured using the 11-point Cantril Ladder of Life Scale. The impact of inequality-related health and social factors (pre-existing medical conditions, household size and occupation), as well as COVID-19–related risk factors (symptoms, confirmed infections, and social distancing behaviours) on well-being were analysed using multiple linear regression models. The associations between the COVID-19–related risk factors and well-being according to the respondents’ household size and occupation were modelled in order to test the differences by their socioeconomic profile. Results: We identified inverted V-shaped associations between household size and subjective well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. Compared to single-person households, respondents from households of two to four persons showed better well-being (β = 0.57; CI (0.44, 0.72)), whereas living in crowded households of five persons or more was associated with decreased well-being (β = −0.48; CI (−0.71, −0.25)). Furthermore, lower-skilled occupations (elementary occupations: β = −0.31; CI (−0.58, −0.03); logistics and transport services: β = −0.37; CI (−0.74, −0.01)) and chronic medical conditions (cardiometabolic or respiratory diseases: β = −0.25; CI (−0.41, −0.1); and mental health conditions: β = −1.12; CI (−1.28, −0.96)) were factors associated with reduced well-being during the pandemic. Interactions between a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, symptoms, and crowded households were identified (β = −0.95; CI (−1.76, −0.14) and β = −4.74; CI (−9.87, −1.61), respectively). Conclusions: In a national sample, the levels of general subjective well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns were disproportionately distributed across different groups within society. Preventive policies should explicitly focus on reaching lower socioeconomic groups; more emphasis should be placed on the coordination of multisectoral support in order to tackle existing health and social inequalities. Full article
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