Social Determinants of Health

Social Determinants of Health

Social determinants of health are social and economic conditions that affect the health of people and the communities. These factors are brought by money, power, and resources that people have. According to World Health Organization (2012), social determinants of health are the elements in which people are born, grow, live, work and age.

According to European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (2017), economic and social factors can contribute to the development of illness in the community. For example, social and economic disadvantage affects the ability to access clinical services and quality of care. Poor transportation and unavailability of health centers make it difficult to access health services leading to the development of illness in the community. Furthermore, those people who have attained low education levels, low incomes and race receive lower quality of healthcare. Social and economic factors also determine one’s exposure to healthy or unhealthy physical environment. Education levels assess employment choices, which in turn determines the level of income hence these factors influence the living standards of people. People with low-income levels live in unhealthy environment thus likely to get diseases.

A communicable disease chain can is a sequence of a disease process that starts when a causative agent leaves its host through a portal of exit. After that, it is transmitted and enters through an entrance of entry to infect a susceptible host by CDC (2012). There are various steps a nurse can take to break a link in a communicable disease chain. For example, cholera bacteria are found in feces. Therefore a nurse can break this chain by educating the community on proper disposal of fecal matter like in latrines or toilets. Nurses should also inform the population affected by proper hand washing with soap and clean water after using the restroom. Nurses should also teach the community about ways to keep water clean by boiling and decontamination.


Braveman, P. and Gottlieb, L., (2014). The social determinants of health: it’s time to consider the causes of the causes. Public health reports, 129(1_suppl2), pp.19-31.

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

Wilkinson, Richard; Marmot, Michael, eds. (2003). The Social Determinants of Health: The Solid Facts (PDF) (2nd edition.). World Health Organization Europe.

World Health Organization. Commission on Social Determinants of Health. Closing the Gap in a Generation- Health equity through action and the social determinants of health. Geneva: World Health Organization. 2008. Accessed 14 March 2012.