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Psychological practice, social determinants of health and the promotion of human flourishing

Health inequalities are a persistent feature of our societal landscape. Health inequalities reflect how differences 10 health outcomes across groups in society are not reducible solely to unhealthy lifestyle choices, individual behaviour, or access to medical care (Hodgetts et al., 2010; McKeown, 1976). People of lower socio-economic status do not get sicker or die more quickly than more affluent groups simply because they do not care about, or know how to look after, themselves and those around them. Substantive evidence supports the conclusion that individual behaviour patterns have a smaller impact on health than socio-economic conditions, which expose some groups to a raft of risk factors while ocher groups are less affected by such risks (Navarro, 2004; Wilkinson & Pickett, 2009; World Health Organization [WHO], 2012, 2014). Situational factors affecting health at a population level are commonly referred to as social determinants of health (SDH). These include employment patterns and conditions, income, physical hardship, social exclusions, colonialism and racism, violence, educational processes, stigma, food and housing [in]securities, and access to health and social services (National Health Committee, 1998; Hodgctts, Chamberlain, Radley &Hodgens, 2007; Marmot, 2013; Robson, 2008; Wilkinson & Pickett, 2009).
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Hodgetts, D., Stolte, O. E. E., & Rua, M. (2016). Psychological practice, social determinants of health and the promotion of human flourishing. In W. Waitoki, J. S. Feather, N. R. Robertson, & J. J. Rucklidge (Eds.), Professional Practice of Psychology (Third, pp. 425–436). Wellington, New Zealand: The New Zealand Psychological Society.
The New Zealand Psychological Society
© 2016 The New Zealand Psychological Society. Used with permission.