Social Science [?] Medicine Journal Impact Factor & Information

Publisher: Elsevier

Journal description

Social Science & Medicine provides an international and interdisciplinary forum for the dissemination of research findings, reviews and theory in all areas of common interest to social scientists and health practitioners and policy makers. The journal publishes material relevant to any aspect of health from a wide range of social science disciplines (eg. anthropology, economics, education, ethics, geography, political science, psychology, social policy and sociology), and material relevant to any of the social sciences from any of the professions concerned with physical and mental health, and with health care practice, policy and organisation. It is particularly keen to publish findings or reviews which are of general interest to an international readership.The journal will publish the following types of contribution:1) Original research reports (preferably not more than 8,000 words in length).2) Critical or analytical reviews in any area of theory, policy or research relevant to health and illness (again preferably not more than 8,000 words in length).3) Short research reports or "think pieces" on topical theoretical or empirical issues (not more than 2,000 words).4) Letters relating to materials previously published in Social Science & Medicine, or to topical and internationally relevant issues concerning social science and health.5) Editorials or commentaries commissioned by the Editors.6) Part or whole Special Issues bringing together collections of papers on a particular theme, and usually edited by a guest editor.7) Reviews commissioned by the book review editor, or recently published books or groups of books which are likely to be of general interest to an international readership. Health Abstracts Online Health Abstracts Online is the new online service that has replaced Abstracts Online Social Science & Medicine. This new online service provides full details of the aims and scope, table of content, free abstracts, author lists and keywords of all articles published in Social Science & Medicine and Health & Place from 1995 onwards. Search each individual journal, or across the whole programme, for a particular topic and access the abstracts provided absolutely free of charge. Access is quick and easy for any user. Whether you are a new user or an existing user simply go to the new website at and you will automatically enter the new site where you can browse the information provided. When you wish to access the free journal abstracts you will be asked to login by providing your name and e-mail address. You will only need to login once, subsequent visits and access to the abstracts will be automatic. Health Abstracts Online will be regularly updated so visit the website and create a bookmark now - make Health Abstracts Online a regular stop for your research needs. The XVth International Conference on the Social Sciences & Medicine took place on 16-20 October 2000 in Veldhoven (near Eindhoven), The Netherlands. Proposals to host the XVIth International Conference are invited. Arranged as a series of workshops, each led by a discussion leader, the conference addresses key issues relating to the behavioural and social aspects of health and healthcare. For full details visit

Current impact factor: 2.56

Impact Factor Rankings

2015 Impact Factor Available summer 2015
2013 / 2014 Impact Factor 2.558
2012 Impact Factor 2.733
2011 Impact Factor 2.699
2009 Impact Factor 2.71

Impact factor over time

Impact factor

Additional details

5-year impact 3.69
Cited half-life 8.50
Immediacy index 0.68
Eigenfactor 0.05
Article influence 1.31
Website Social Science & Medicine website
Other titles Social science & medicine (1982), Social science & medicine, Social science and medicine
ISSN 1873-5347
OCLC 7667666
Material type Periodical, Internet resource
Document type Journal / Magazine / Newspaper, Internet Resource

Publisher details


  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author can archive a post-print version
  • Conditions
    • Pre-print allowed on any website or open access repository
    • Voluntary deposit by author of authors post-print allowed on authors' personal website, or institutions open scholarly website including Institutional Repository, without embargo, where there is not a policy or mandate
    • Deposit due to Funding Body, Institutional and Governmental policy or mandate only allowed where separate agreement between repository and the publisher exists.
    • Permitted deposit due to Funding Body, Institutional and Governmental policy or mandate, may be required to comply with embargo periods of 12 months to 48 months .
    • Set statement to accompany deposit
    • Published source must be acknowledged
    • Must link to journal home page or articles' DOI
    • Publisher's version/PDF cannot be used
    • Articles in some journals can be made Open Access on payment of additional charge
    • NIH Authors articles will be submitted to PubMed Central after 12 months
    • Publisher last contacted on 18/10/2013
  • Classification
    ​ green

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Elderly people facing dependence are exposed to the financial risk of long lasting care expenditures. This risk is high for people facing cognitive, functional and behavioral problems. In the short-term, dependent elderly people face increased non-medical care expenditures. In the long-term, they face increased medical care expenditures, which are driven by emergency care events such as: emergency hospitalization, emergency medical visits, and emergency institutionalizations. In France, providing public financial assistance has been shown to improve dependent people's access to non-medical care services. However, the impact of public financial assistance on emergency care use has not been explored yet. Our study aims at determining whether financial assistance on non-medical care provision decreases the probability of emergency care rates using data of 1131 French patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, collected between 2003 and 2007. Using instrumental variables to deal with the presence of a potential endogeneity bias, we find that beneficiaries of long-term care subsidies have a significantly lower rate of emergency care than non-beneficiaries. Failing to control for endogeneity problems would lead to misestimate the impact of long-term care subsidies on emergency care rates. Finding that home care subsidies has a protective effect for emergency care confirmed the efficacy of this public policy tool. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 08/2015; 138. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.05.035
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    ABSTRACT: One strategy for increasing physical activity is to create and enhance access to park space. We assessed the literature on the relationship of parks and objectively measured physical activity in population-based studies in the United States (US) and identified limitations in current built environment and physical activity measurement and reporting. Five English-language scholarly databases were queried using standardized search terms. Abstracts were screened for the following inclusion criteria: 1) published between January 1990 and June 2013; 2) US-based with a sample size greater than 100 individuals; 3) included built environment measures related to parks or trails; and 4) included objectively measured physical activity as an outcome. Following initial screening for inclusion by two independent raters, articles were abstracted into a database. Of 10,949 abstracts screened, 20 articles met the inclusion criteria. Five articles reported a significant positive association between parks and physical activity. Nine studies found no association, and six studies had mixed findings. Our review found that even among studies with objectively measured physical activity, the association between access to parks and physical activity varied between studies, possibly due to heterogeneity of exposure measurement. Self-reported (vs. independently-measured) neighborhood park environment characteristics and smaller (vs. larger) buffer sizes were more predictive of physical activity. We recommend strategies for further research, employing standardized reporting and innovative study designs to better understand the relationship of parks and physical activity. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 08/2015; 138. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.05.034
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    ABSTRACT: Evidence from developing countries demonstrates a mixed relationship of overweight/obesity with socioeconomic status (SES) and place of residence. Theory of nutrition transition suggests that over the course of development, overweight first emerges among rich and urban people before spreading among rural and poor people. India is currently experiencing a rapid rise in the proportion of overweight and obese population especially among adult women. Under the backdrop of huge socio-economic heterogeneity across the states of India, the inter-state scenario of overweight and obesity differs considerably. Hence, this paper investigates the evolution over time of overweight and obesity among ever-married Indian women (15-49 years) from selected 'underweight states' (Bihar, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh, where underweight proportion is predominant) and 'overweight states' (Kerala, Delhi and Punjab, where overweight is the prime concern), in relation to a few selected socio-economic and demographic indicators. This study analysed National Family Health Surveys- NFHS-2 (1998-99) and NFHS-3 (2005-06) following Asian population specific BMI cut-offs for overweight and obesity. The results confirm that within India itself the relationship of overweight and obesity with place of residence and SES cannot be generalized. Results from 'overweight states' show that the overweight problem has started expanding from urban and well-off women to the poor and rural people, while the rural-urban and rich-poor difference has disappeared. On the other hand in 'underweight states' overweight and obesity have remained socially segregated and increasing strongly among urban and richer section of the population. The rate of rise of overweight and obesity has been higher in rural areas of 'OW states' and in urban areas of 'UW states'. Indian policymakers thus need to design state-specific approaches to arrest the rapid growth of overweight and its penetration especially towards under-privileged section of the society. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 08/2015; 138. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.06.004
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    ABSTRACT: While other indicators of social capital have been linked to health, the role of block parties on health in Black neighborhoods and on Black residents is understudied. Block parties exhibit several features of bonding social capital and are present in nearly 90% of Philadelphia's predominantly Black neighborhoods. This analysis investigated: (1) whether or not block parties are an indicator of bonding social capital in Black neighborhoods; (2) the degree to which block parties might be related to self-rated health in the ways that other bonding social indicators are related to health; and (3) whether or not block parties are associated with average self-rated health for Black residents particularly. Using census tract-level indicators of bonding social capital and records of block parties from 2003 to 2008 for 381 Philadelphia neighborhoods (defined by census tracts), an ecological-level propensity score was generated to assess the propensity for a block party, adjusting for population demographics, neighborhood characteristics, neighborhood resources and violent crime. Results indicate that in multivariable regression, block parties were associated with increased bonding social capital in Black neighborhoods; however, the calculation of the average effect of the treatment on the treated (ATT) within each propensity score strata showed no effect of block parties on average self-rated health for Black residents. Block parties may be an indicator of bonding social capital in Philadelphia's predominantly Black neighborhoods, but this analysis did not show a direct association between block parties and self-rated health for Black residents. Further research should consider what other health outcomes or behaviors block parties may be related to and how interventionists can leverage block parties for health promotion. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 06/2015; 138. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.06.019
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined the relationship between multiple dimensions of religious involvement and transitions of tobacco smoking abstinence, persistence, cessation and relapse over 9-10 years of follow-up in a national sample of adults in the United States. Using data provided at baseline and follow-up, participants were categorized as non-smokers, persistent smokers, ex-smokers, and relapsed smokers. Religious involvement over the two time points were categorized into combinations of "high" and "low" involvement within the domains of (a) religious attendance, (b) religious importance, (c) spiritual importance, (d) religious/spiritual comfort seeking, and (e) religious/spiritual decision-making. High levels of religious involvement across five dimensions (religious attendance, religious importance, spiritual importance, religious/spiritual comfort-seeking, and religious/spiritual decision-making) were associated with lower odds of being a persistent smoker or ex-smoker. Religious involvement was not associated with smoking cessation among smokers at baseline. Interventions to increase smoking abstinence may be more effective if they draw on ties to religious and spiritual organizations and beliefs. Meanwhile, religious involvement is unlikely to affect smoking cessation effectiveness. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 06/2015; 138:128-135. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.06.006
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    ABSTRACT: This paper examines the origins of consumerist discourse in health care from a communication perspective via a historical textual analysis of health writing in popular magazines from 1930 to 1949. The focus is on Consumers Union's Consumer Reports and the American Medical Association's lay health magazine, Hygeia. Findings from Consumer Reports show that the consumer movement of the 1930s-40s staunchly advocated for universal health insurance. Whereas consumer rights language nowadays tends towards individual choice and personal responsibility, consumerism in health care during that era articulated ideas about consumer citizenship, framing choice and responsibility in collectivist terms and health care as a social good. This paper also illuminates the limits and weaknesses of a central tenet in consumerism-freedom of choice-by analyzing stories in Hygeia about the doctor-patient relationship. A textual analysis finds that the AMA's justification in the 1930s-40s against socialized medicine, i.e., the freedom to choose a doctor, was in practice highly controlled by the medical profession. Findings show that long before the rhetoric of the "empowered consumer" became popular, some patients exercised some choice even in an era when physicians achieved total professional dominance. But these patients were few and tend to occupy the upper socioeconomic strata of US society. In reality choice was an illusion in a fee-for-service era when most American families could not afford the costs of medical care. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 06/2015; 138:136-143. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.06.007
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    ABSTRACT: Health systems' responsiveness encompasses attributes of health system encounters valued by people and measured from the user's perspective in eight domains: dignity, autonomy, confidentiality, communication, prompt attention, social support, quality of basic amenities and choice. The literature advocates for adjusting responsiveness measures for reporting behaviour heterogeneity, which refers to differential use of the response scale by survey respondents. Reporting behaviour heterogeneity between individual respondents compromises comparability between countries and population subgroups. It can be studied through analysing responses to pre-defined vignettes – hypothetical scenarios recounting a third person's experience in a health care setting. This paper describes the first comprehensive approach to studying reporting behaviour heterogeneity using vignettes. Individual-level variables affecting reporting behaviour are grouped into three categories: (1) sociodemographic, (2) health-related and (3) health value system. We use cross-sectional data from 150 000 respondents in 64 countries from the World Health Organization's World Health Survey (2002–03). Our approach classifies effect patterns for the scale as a whole, in terms of strength and in relation to the domains. For the final eight variables selected (sex; age; education; marital status; use of inpatient services; perceived health (own); caring for close family or friends with a chronic illness; the importance of responsiveness), the strongest effects were present for education, health, caring for friends or relatives with chronic health conditions, and the importance of responsiveness. Patterns of scale elongation or contraction were more common than uniform scale shifts and were usually constant for a particular factor across domains. The dependency of individual-level reporting behaviour heterogeneity on country is greatest for prompt attention, quality of basic amenities and confidentiality domains.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 06/2015; 138:152-160. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.04.022
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    ABSTRACT: The Great Recession produced the highest rates of unemployment observed in decades, in part due to particularly high rates of people losing work involuntarily. The impact of these job losses on health is unknown, due to the length of time required for most disease development, concerns about reverse causation, and limited data that covers this time period. We examine associations between job loss, employment status and smoking, the leading preventable cause of death, among 13,571 individuals participating in the 2001-2011 waves of the U.S.-based Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Results indicate that recent involuntary job loss is associated with an average 1.1 percentage point increase in smoking probability. This risk is strongest when people have returned to work, and appears reversed when they leave the labor market altogether. Although some job loss is associated with changes in household income and psychological distress levels, we find no evidence that these changes explain smoking behavior modifications. Smoking prevention programs and policies targeted at displaced workers or the newly employed may alleviate some negative health effects produced by joblessness during the Great Recession. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 06/2015; 138:110-118. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.06.003
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    ABSTRACT: The Latina Paradox, or persistent, unexplained variation in low birth weight rates in recently immigrated Mexican women and the trend toward higher rates in subsequent generations of Mexican American women, is most often attributed to unidentified sociocultural causes. We suggest herein that different disciplinary approaches can be synthesized under the constructs of reproductive habitus and subjective social status to identify influences of sociocultural processes on birth weight. Reproductive habitus are "modes of living the reproductive body, bodily practices, and the creation of new subjects through interactions between people and structures" (Smith-Oka, 2012: 2276). Subjective social status infers comparison of self to others based on community definitions of status or socioeconomic status (Adler 2007). We present results from a prospective study of low-income Mexican immigrant and Mexican American women from south Texas that tested the ability of reproductive habitus and subjective social status to elucidate the Latina Paradox. We hypothesized that reproductive habitus between Mexican immigrant women and Mexican American women inform different subjective social statuses during pregnancy, and different subjective social statuses mediate responses to psychosocial stressors known to correlate with low birth weight. Six hundred thirty-one women were surveyed for psychosocial health, subjective social status, and reproductive histories between 2011 and 2013. Eighty-three women were interviewed between 2012 and 2013 for status during pregnancy, prenatal care practices, and pregnancy narratives and associations. Birth weight was extracted from medical records. Results were mixed. Subjective social status and pregnancy-related anxiety predicted low birth weight in Mexican immigrant but not Mexican American women. Mexican immigrant women had significantly lower subjective social status scores but a distinct reproductive habitus that could explain improved psychosocial health during pregnancy. Results underscore the importance of a biopsychosocial, mixed methods approach that integrates anthropology, psychology, and epidemiology in the effort to understand the complex dynamic between sociocultural processes and birth weight. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 06/2015; 138:102-109. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.05.043
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    ABSTRACT: Indigenous peoples have poorer health outcomes than their non-indigenous counterparts and this applies to cancer outcomes for Māori in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Differential access to and quality of healthcare contributes to poorer survival rates for Māori. This research provides insight into some of the mechanisms that hinder and facilitate care access. Thirty four people who had undergone cancer treatment (19 Māori and 15 non-Māori) were interviewed by two Māori researchers. The analysis of the interview transcripts was informed by membership categorization analysis. This form of analysis attends to the categories that are used and the activities and characteristics associated with those categories. From this analysis it is argued that the classical patient role, or sick role, inadequately captures the kind of role that some Māori take in relation to their healthcare. Māori can also have culturally specific family (whānau) influences and a greater draw towards alternative approaches to healthcare. Dissonant roles contribute to a different experience for Māori. A better understanding of the categories and roles that are relevant to those who have cancer provides opportunities to attenuate the monocultural impacts of healthcare. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 06/2015; 138. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.06.008
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    ABSTRACT: From twenty years of information and communication technology (ICT) projects in the health sector, we have learned one thing: most projects remain projects. The problem of pilotism in e-health and telemedicine is a growing concern, both in medical literature and among policy makers, who now ask for large-scale implementation of ICT in routine health service delivery. In this article, we turn the question of failing projects upside down. Instead of investigating the obstacles to implementing ICT and realising permanent changes in health care routines, we ask what makes the temporary ICT project survive, despite an apparent lack of success. Our empirical material is based on Norwegian telemedicine. Through a case study, we take an in-depth look into the history of one particular telemedical initiative and highlight how ICT projects matter on a managerial level. Our analysis reveals how management tasks were delegated to the ICT project, which thus contributed to four processes of organisational control: allocating resources, generating and managing enthusiasm, system correction and aligning local practice and national policies. We argue that the innovation project in itself can be considered an innovation that has become normalised in health care, not in clinical, but in management work. In everyday management, the ICT project appears to be a convenient tool suited to ease the tensions between state regulatory practices and claims of professional autonomy that arise in the wake of new public management reforms. Separating project management and funding from routine practice handles the conceptualised heterogeneity between innovation and routine within contemporary health care delivery. Whilst this separation eases the execution of both normal routines and innovative projects, it also delays expected diffusion of technology. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 05/2015; 132. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.03.016
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    ABSTRACT: This study evaluated the relationship between interpersonal communication about cigarette health warning labels (HWLs), psychological responses to HWLs, and smoking cessation attempts. Data were analyzed from online consumer panels of adult smokers in Australia, Canada and Mexico, during implementation of new pictorial health warning labels (HWLs) on cigarette packs. Approximately 1000 adult smokers were surveyed in each country every four months (September 2012, January 2013, May 2013, September 2013, January 2014). Only smokers followed for at least two waves were included in the analytic sample. Participants reported the frequency of talking about HWLs in the last month (in general, with family members, and with friends). For each country, poisson generalized estimating equation (GEE) models were estimated to assess the bivariate and adjusted correlates of talking about HWLs. Logistic GEE models regressed having attempted to quit by the subsequent wave on HWL talk, sociodemographics and psychological responses to HWLs. The frequency of HWL talk gradually decreased in Canada (48%-36%) after new HWLs were implemented; an increase (30%-58%) in Australia corresponded with implementation of new HWLs, after which talking stabilized; and the frequency of HWL talk in Mexico was stable over time, where new HWLs are implemented every six months. Talk about HWLs was an independent predictor of subsequent quit attempts in Canada (AOR = 1.50; 95% CI = 1.11-2.02), Australia (AOR = 1.41; 95% CI = 1.05-1.89), and Mexico (AOR = 1.53; 95% CI = 1.11-2.10), as was cognitive responses to HWLs (Australia AOR = 1.66; 95% CI = 1.22-2.24; Canada AOR = 1.56; 95% CI = 1.15-2.11; Mexico AOR = 1.30; 95% CI = 0.91-1.85). No interaction between talk and cognitive reactions to HWLs were found. These results suggest that interpersonal communication about HWLs influences smoking cessation attempts independent of other established predictors of smoking cessation, including cessation-related HWL responses. Future research should determine ways to catalyze interpersonal communication about HWLs and thereby potentiate HWL effects. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 05/2015; 104. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.05.042
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    ABSTRACT: The effect of performance-based financing (PBF) on patients' perception of primary health care services in developing countries in not well documented. Data from a randomized impact evaluation in Rwanda conducted between 2006 and 2008 in 157 primary level facilities is used to explore patients' satisfaction with clinical and non-clinical services and quantify the contribution of individual and facility characteristics to satisfaction including PBF. Improvements in productivity, availability and competences of the health workforce following the implementation of PBF have a positive effect on patients' satisfaction with clinical services even if patients' satisfaction is not tied to a reward. The positive effect of PBF on non-clinical dimensions of satisfaction also suggests that PBF incentivizes providers to raise patients' satisfaction with non-clinical services if it is associated with future financial gains. It is recommended that low and middle income countries build on the experience from high income countries to better listen to patients' voice in general and include an assessment of patients' satisfaction in incentive mechanisms as a way to increase the benefits of the strategy. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 05/2015; 138:1-11. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.05.033