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: 2.89

Impact Factor Rankings

2015 Impact Factor Available summer 2016
2014 Impact Factor 2.89
2013 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 3.54
Cited half-life 9.20
Immediacy index 0.53
Eigenfactor 0.05
Article influence 1.35
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
    • Authors pre-print on any website, including arXiv and RePEC
    • Author's post-print on author's personal website immediately
    • Author's post-print on open access repository after an embargo period of between 12 months and 48 months
    • 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
    • Author's post-print may be used to update arXiv and RepEC
    • Publisher's version/PDF cannot be used
    • Must link to publisher version with DOI
    • Author's post-print must be released with a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License
    • Publisher last reviewed on 03/06/2015
  • Classification
    ​ green

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Rationale: Interventions asking patients to commit to speaking with their doctor about a health-related issue could be used to improve quality of care. Objective: To evaluate the impact of commitment questions targeting patients on the uptake of recommended health services within a national quality improvement program (Veterans' MATES). Methods: Patients targeted in the home medicines reviews (HMRs), dose administration aids (DAAs), renal function testing and diabetes interventions were posted educational information and response forms which asked whether they intended to talk to their general practitioner (GP) about the targeted service. Uptake of the service after each intervention was determined using health claims data. Log binomial regression models compared the monthly rate of service use in the nine months post-intervention among patients answering 'yes' to a commitment question with non-responders and patients answering 'no' or 'unsure'. Results: Each intervention targeted up to 58,000 patients. The average response rate was 28%. Positive responses were associated with increased uptake of HMRs (rate ratio (RR) 2.64, 95% CI 2.39-2.92; p < 0.0001), dose administration aids (RR 2.53, 95% CI 2.29-2.79; p < 0.0001), renal function tests (RR 1.18, 95% CI 1.13-1.24; p < 0.0001), GP management plans (RR 1.30, 95% CI 1.14-1.48; p < 0.0001) and diabetes care plans (RR 1.47, 95% CI 1.24-1.75; p < 0.0001) compared to non-responders. Similar increases in uptake were also observed among positive responders when compared to patients responding 'no' or 'unsure' to the commitment question. Conclusion: Positive responses to commitment questions distributed as part of national, multifaceted interventions were consistently associated with increased uptake of targeted services.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 10/2015; 145:1-6. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.09.019
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Dressler (2001:456) characterizes medical anthropology as divided between two poles: the constructivist, which focuses on the "meaning and significance that events have for people," and the structuralist, which emphasizes socioeconomic processes and relationships. This study synthesizes structuralist and constructivist perspectives by investigating how structural processes impact explanatory models of Chagas disease in a highly endemic area. The research took place from March-June 2013 through the Centro Medico Humberto Parra, a non-profit clinic servicing low income populations in Palacios, Bolivia and surrounding communities. Semistructured interviews (n = 68) and consensus analysis questionnaires (n = 48) were administered to people dealing with Chagas disease. In the interview narratives, respondents link Chagas disease with experiences of marginalization and rural poverty, and describe multilayered impediments to accessing treatment. They often view the disease as incurable, but this reflects inconsistent messages from the biomedical system. The consensus analysis results show strong agreement on knowledge of the vector, ethnomedical treatment, and structural factors related to Chagas disease. In interpreting Chagas disease, respondents account for the structural factors which place them at risk and impede access to care.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 10/2015; 145:7-16. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.09.022
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The present paper analyses the emergence and characteristics of Israeli Medical Association (IMA) discourse on health inequality in Israel during the years 1977-2010. The IMA addressed the issue of health inequality at a relatively late stage in time (2000), as compared to other OECD countries such as the UK, and did so in a relatively limited way, focusing primarily on professional or economic interests. The dominant discourses on health inequalities within the IMA are biomedical and behavioral, characterized by a focus on medical and/or cultural and behavioral differences, the predominant use of medical terminology, and an individualistic rather than a structural conceptualization of the social characteristics of health differences. Additionally, IMA discourses emphasize certain aspects of health inequality such as the geographical and material inequities, and in doing so overlook the role played by class, nationality and the unequal structure of citizenship. Paradoxically, by disregarding the latter, the IMA's discourse on health inequality has the potential to reinforce the structural causes of these inequities. Our research is based on a textual critical discourse analysis (CDA) of hundreds of documents from the IMA's scientific medical journal, the IMA's members journal and public IMA documents such as press-releases, Knesset protocols, publications, and public surveys. By providing knowledge on the different ways in which the IMA, a key stakeholder in the health field, de-codifies, understands, explains, and attempts to deal with health inequality, the article illuminates possible implications on health policy and seeks to evaluate the direct interventions carried out by the IMA, or by other actors influenced by it, pertaining to health inequality.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 09/2015; 144:119-126. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.09.015
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Medical teamwork promises to improve communication and collaboration in the healthcare industry, yet critics argue teamwork is little more than a new managerial discourse to obscure traditional workplace hierarchies. Based on 300 h of participant-observation and 35 interviews with staff of a medical intensive care unit at an academic medical center, this article argues that teamwork is neither a panacea for coordinating complex care nor is it simply a discourse to control workers; rather, it is an ongoing social activity characterized by boundary-work, negotiation, and resistance over the terms of membership. This study identifies three processual and temporal phases of families' participation in medical teams: (1) Constructing Teamwork, (2) Deflection and Resistance, and (3) Reintegration. Staff leveraged ambiguities in the meaning of teamwork to manage patients' family members' participation on the ICU Team. Family involvement changed in patterned ways that reflected the power staff had to define the team and the character of teamwork. Families participated on the team at admission, but their involvement narrowed considerably as staff implemented diagnostic and treatment plans. When staff determined a patient was appropriate for palliation, families were reintegrated back into a leading role on the team as surrogate decision-makers. This study advances current understandings of medical teamwork, staff-family interactions, and it highlights the value of qualitative methods in social-science research about medicine.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 09/2015; 144:112-118. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.09.014
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Growing evidence suggests that psychological factors, such as conscientiousness and anger, as well as cognitive ability are related to mortality. Less is known about 1) the relative importance of each of these factors in predicting mortality, 2) through what social, economic, and behavioral mechanisms these factors influence mortality, and 3) how these processes unfold over long periods of time in nationally-representative samples. We use 35 years (1972-2007) of data from men (ages 20-40) in the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), a nationally representative sample in the United States, and discrete time event history analysis (n = 27,373 person-years) to examine the importance of measures of follow-through (a dimension of conscientiousness), anger, and cognitive ability in predicting mortality. We also assess the extent to which income, marriage, and smoking explain the relationship between psychological and cognitive factors with mortality. We find that while follow-through, anger, and cognitive ability are all associated with subsequent mortality when modeled separately, when they are modeled together and baseline demographic characteristics are controlled, only anger remains associated with mortality: being in the top quartile for anger is associated with a 1.57 fold increase in the risk of dying at follow-up compared with those in the bottom quartile. This relationship is robust to the inclusion of income, marriage, and smoking as mediators.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 09/2015; 144:69-78. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.09.011
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Although a substantial literature examines the relationship between culture and health in myriad individual contexts, a lack of comparative data across settings has resulted in disparate and imprecise conceptualizations of the concept for scholars and practitioners alike. This article examines scholars and practitioners' understandings of culture in relation to health interventions. Drawing on 169 interviews with officials from three different nongovernmental organizations working on health issues in multiple countries-Partners in Health, Oxfam America, and Sesame Workshop-we examine how these respondents' interpretations of culture converge or diverge with recent developments in the study of the concept, as well as how these understandings influence health interventions at three different stages-design, implementation, and evaluation-of a project. Based on these analyses, a tripartite definition of culture is built-as knowledge, practice, and change-and these distinct conceptualizations are linked to the success or failure of a project at each stage of an intervention. In so doing, the study provides a descriptive and analytical starting point for scholars interested in understanding the theoretical and empirical relevance of culture for health interventions, and sets forth concrete recommendations for practitioners working to achieve robust improvements in health outcomes.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 09/2015; 144:79-87. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.09.013
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The inconsistent relation of national income with population blood pressure raises questions as to whether social comparisons of relative income at individual or neighbourhood level may be more relevant than absolute income. We examined the associations of absolute household income (income per se), absolute neighbourhood median income (average income among geographically-proximate households), relative household income [deprivation using Yitzhaki index, or rank by position] (differences in income or rank compared with others) and relative neighbourhood income inequality [Gini coefficient] (income gap within a neighbourhood) with blood pressure z-score, prehypertension or hypertension at ∼13 years using a fixed effects multilevel linear or logistic model in a Chinese birth cohort (n = 5063, 61% of follow-up). Absolute household or neighbourhood income was not associated with adolescent blood pressure. Greater relative household income deprivation was associated with higher diastolic blood pressure (0.01 z-score per USD 128 difference in Yitzhaki index, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.005 to 0.02), so was lower relative household income rank (-0.10, 95% CI -0.15 to -0.04), but relative neighbourhood income inequality was not, when considering each income measure separately. Such associations remained when considering all income measures together. Income measures were not associated with prehypertension or hypertension. Relative household income (greater deprivation or lower rank) were positively associated with adolescent blood pressure independent of absolute household income while absolute or relative neighbourhood income had little contribution, suggesting social comparisons at a key developmental stage could be relevant. Clarifying specific effects of socioeconomic position across the life-course could inform interventions.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 09/2015; 144:88-95. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.09.012
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Studies find that longer-term immigrants have higher body mass index (BMI) than their more recently arrived counterparts. Most interpretations of these health patterns by duration of U.S. residence rely on theories of immigrant integration; they posit that with increasing time in the United States, immigrants incorporate economically, socially, and culturally into aspects of U.S. society, and that these changes impact health. Few studies empirically examine whether these aspects of integration are indeed mediators of the association between duration of U.S. stay and BMI, and if their patterns differ across immigrant subgroups. This study examines data from the National Latino and Asian American Survey, using path analytic methods to simultaneously test six hypothesized mediators between duration and BMI: household income, English language ability, ethnic identity, family cohesion, acculturative stress and discrimination for both Latino and Asian immigrants, stratified by gender. We find little evidence for an association between duration and BMI for either Latino or Asian men. For women, duration and BMI have a significant and positive relationship, although the pathways differ between the two ethnic groups. For Latina women, household income and acculturative stress are significant indirect pathways, although they work in opposing directions. For Asian women, English proficiency and discrimination are significant indirect pathways. Our findings reveal complex pathways between duration and BMI that vary by ethnicity and gender and highlight limitations in the negative acculturation theory, which suggests that exposure to the United States should have a net negative impact on health. In contrast, our findings suggest that not all groups show declining health with longer duration, as measured by BMI, and that integration processes do not always translate into health differences in the expected directions. Future research on duration patterns may need to consider alternative explanations beyond incorporation-based processes, such as cross-national health theories or age, period, cohort effects.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 09/2015; 144:39-47. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.09.001
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Ambulatory care sensitive hospitalisations (ACSH) have been widely used to study the quality and effectiveness of primary care. Using data from 248 general hospitals in Mexico during 2001-2011 we identify 926,769 ACSHs in 188 health jurisdictions before and during the health insurance expansion that took place in this period, and estimate a fixed effects model to explain the association of the jurisdiction ACSH rate with patient and community factors. National ACSH rate increased by 50%, but trends and magnitude varied at the jurisdiction and state level. We find strong associations of the ACSH rate with socioeconomic conditions, health care supply and health insurance coverage even after controlling for potential endogeneity in the rolling out of the insurance programme. We argue that the traditional focus on the increase/decrease of the ACSH rate might not be a valid indicator to assess the effectiveness of primary care in a health insurance expansion setting, but that the ACSH rate is useful when compared between and within states once the variation in insurance coverage is taken into account as it allows the identification of differences in the provision of primary care. The high heterogeneity found in the ACSH rates suggests important state and jurisdiction differences in the quality and effectiveness of primary care in Mexico.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 09/2015; 144:59-68. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.09.010
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Introduction: The majority of research on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disclosure utilizes the perspective from a single individual, which cannot be substantiated in the absence of supporting data such as from a primary partner. Objectives: The objectives of this study were to evaluate: (1) the extent to which self-reported HIV disclosure was confirmed by a primary partner; (2) individual and relationship-level predictors of self-reported versus confirmed disclosure; and (3) whether confirmed disclosure was a stronger predictor of correctly assessing a partner's HIV status compared to self-reported disclosure. Methods: As part of an 8-wave longitudinal study from 2009 to 2011 in southern Malawi, 366 individuals (183 couples) were interviewed about their primary relationship (wave 3), individually tested for HIV (wave 4), and then asked whether they disclosed to their primary partner (wave 5). Results: While 93% of respondents reported that they disclosed, only 64% of respondents had confirmed reports from their partner. Having communicated with partner about HIV was positively associated with self-reported disclosure; this association remained significant but became more precise in the models for confirmed disclosure. Confirmed disclosure, but not self-report, was a significant predictor of correctly assessing a partner's HIV status. Being male, having lower perceived partner infidelity, having higher relationship unity, and testing HIV-negative were positively and significantly associated with correct assessment. Dyadic data from two partners provide an improved measure of disclosure as compared to a single individual's self-report and could be used to identify behavioral and biomedical opportunities to prevent HIV transmission within couples.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 09/2015; 144:28-37. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.09.007
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Trial registration: Identifier NCT01120041.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 09/2015; 144:9-18. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.09.005
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Rationale: In the current social climate, breastfeeding is regarded as the "gold standard" of babies' nutrition and optimal mothering. It is not surprising, therefore, that the vast majority of contemporary women begin breastfeeding after they give birth. Objective: This paper presents two separate quantitative studies conducted in Israel which examined breastfeeding motivation and its association with maternal well-being as derived from Self-Determination Theory (SDT). In Study I, a new breastfeeding motivation scale reflecting the various SDT-informed motivations was developed. Study II sought to validate the structure of the scale and to examine the hypotheses derived from SDT. Methods: In Study I, which took place in 2007, 130 mothers of at least one child under the age of eight years old filled out the Breastfeeding Motivation Scale. In Study II, which took place during the years 2008-2010, a different sample of 236 women were followed at three different time points: during the third trimester of pregnancy, at eight weeks postnatal, and at five months postnatal. The participants completed the Breastfeeding Motivation Scale and maternal well-being, maternal self-efficacy and maternal attachment questionnaires. Results: The findings supported the structure of the Breastfeeding Motivation Scale according to SDT. As predicted, autonomous motivation was positively correlated with maternal well-being and self-efficacy, while controlled motivations were positively associated with distress and inversely correlated with self-efficacy. Anxious attachment predicted both controlled and autonomous breastfeeding motivations. Discussion: The findings support the validity of the SDT for breastfeeding motivations, and highlight the role of these motivations as differentiating between positive and negative subjective well-being, among breastfeeding women.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 09/2015; 144:19-27. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.09.006
  • Social Science [?] Medicine 09/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.09.002
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Overweight and obesity have been associated with unemployment but less is known about changes in weight associated with changes in employment. We examined weight changes associated with job-loss, retirement and maintaining employment in two samples of working adults in the United Kingdom. This was a prospective study of 7201 adults in the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC)-Norfolk study (aged 39-76 years) and 4539 adults in the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) who were followed up over 43 months and 26 months, respectively. In both samples, changes in measured (EPIC) and self-reported (BHPS) weight were computed for each participant and assessed in relation to three employment transitions: maintaining paid employment, retirement and job-loss. Regression models adjusted for potential confounders. Further analyses evaluated the contribution of diet, physical activity and smoking to weight gain. In EPIC-Norfolk, weight change differed across the three employment transitions for women but not men. The mean (95% CI) annualised change in weight for women who became unemployed over the follow-up period was 0.70 (0.55, 0.85) kg/y while those who maintained employment gained 0.49 (0.43, 0.55) kg/y (P = 0.007). Accounting for changes in smoking, diet and physical activity did not substantially alter the difference in weight gain among groups. In BHPS, job-loss was associated with weight gain of 1.56 (0.89, 2.23) kg/y, while those who maintained employment 0.60 (0.53, 0.68) kg/y (P < 0.001). In both samples, weight changes associated with retirement were similar to those staying in work. In BHPS, job-loss was also associated with significant declines in self-reported well-being and increases in sleep-loss. Two UK-based samples of working adults reveal strong associations between job-loss and excess weight gain. The mediating behaviours are so far unclear but psychosocial mechanisms and sleep-loss may contribute to the excess weight gain among individuals who become unemployed.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 09/2015; 143:223-231. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.08.052
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Objective: Law enforcement is a stressful occupation associated with significant health problems. To date, most studies have focused on one specific factor or one domain of risk factors (e.g., organizational, personal). However, it is more likely that specific combinations of risk factors are differentially health relevant and further, depend on the area of police work. Methods: A self-selected group of officers from the criminal, community, and emergency division (N = 84) of a Swiss state police department answered questionnaires assessing personal and organizational risk factors as well as mental and physical health indicators. Results: In general, few differences were observed across divisions in terms of risk factors or health indicators. Cluster analysis of all risk factors established a high-risk and a low-risk cluster with significant links to all mental health outcomes. Risk cluster-by-division interactions revealed that, in the high-risk cluster, Emergency officers reported fewer physical symptoms, while community officers reported more posttraumatic stress symptoms. Criminal officers in the high-risk cluster tended to perceived more stress. Finally, perceived stress did not mediate the relationship between risk clusters and posttraumatic stress symptoms. Conclusion: In summary, our results support the notion that police officers are a heterogeneous population in terms of processes linking risk factors and health indicators. This heterogeneity thereby appeared to be more dependent on personal factors and individuals' perception of their own work conditions than division-specific work environments. Our findings further suggest that stress-reduction interventions that do not target job-relevant sources of stress may only show limited effectiveness in reducing health risks associated with police work.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 09/2015; 143:213-222. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.08.043
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Rationale: Daily physical symptoms play a critical role in health and illness experiences. Despite their daily prevalence, the ability of these symptoms to predict future health status is debated. Objective: The current study examined whether physical symptom reports predict future health outcomes independent of trait measures of emotion. Methods: Participants (N = 1189) who completed both Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) Surveys I and II as well as the National Study of Daily Experiences (NSDE) reported their daily physical symptoms at baseline and number of reported chronic conditions and functional disability nearly 10 years later. Results: Physical symptoms at baseline significantly predicted the occurrence of chronic conditions and functional impairment at long-term follow-up, even after adjusting for self-reported affect, self-reported health, and previous health status. Conclusion: Findings suggest that daily physical symptoms are unique indicators of future health status.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 09/2015; 143:241-248. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.08.050