chapter  5
Social determinants of health
The sociobiological translation
ByAlvin R. Tarlov
Pages 23

This chapter will provide a modern definition of health that emphasizes health’s social context, summarize evidence for the view that the social determinants of health are paramount, and provide a conceptual framework for the production of health that accounts for differential vulnerability to disease according to the social hierarchy. A conjecture will be offered to explain how social characteristics are received as sensory stimuli by man and translated into biological signals that are antecedent to disease that becomes clinically manifest later in life. An emphasis on societal characteristics as powerful determinants of a population’s health has important relevance to policy formulations if the goal is to improve health.