Social Science [?] Medicine (SOC SCI MED)

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

2016 Impact Factor Available summer 2017
2014 / 2015 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

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The impact of legislated minimum wages on the early-life health of children living in low and middle-income countries has not been examined. For our analyses, we used data from the Demographic and Household Surveys (DHS) from 57 countries conducted between 1999 and 2013. Our analyses focus on height-for-age z scores (HAZ) for children under 5 years of age who were surveyed as part of the DHS. To identify the causal effect of minimum wages, we utilized plausibly exogenous variation in the legislated minimum wages during each child's year of birth, the identifying assumption being that mothers do not time their births around changes in the minimum wage. As a sensitivity exercise, we also made within family comparisons (mother fixed effect models). Our final analysis on 49 countries reveal that a 1% increase in minimum wages was associated with 0.1% (95% CI = -0.2, 0) decrease in HAZ scores. Adverse effects of an increase in the minimum wage were observed among girls and for children of fathers who were less than 35 years old, mothers aged 20-29, parents who were married, parents who were less educated, and parents involved in manual work. We also explored heterogeneity by region and GDP per capita at baseline (1999). Adverse effects were concentrated in lower-income countries and were most pronounced in South Asia. By contrast, increases in the minimum wage improved children's HAZ in Latin America, and among children of parents working in a skilled sector. Our findings are inconsistent with the hypothesis that increases in the minimum wage unconditionally improve child health in lower-income countries, and highlight heterogeneity in the impact of minimum wages around the globe. Future work should involve country and occupation specific studies which can explore not only different outcomes such as infant mortality rates, but also explore the role of parental investments in shaping these effects.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2016 · Social Science [?] Medicine
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: While migrants are widely believed to be positively selected on health, there has been very little empirical exploration of the actual health differential between migrants and non-migrants. This paper explored: 1) the extent of health selection by comparing US immigrants from 19 sending countries to their non-migrating counterparts still residing in the countries of origin; 2) country-level correlates of health selection; and 3) whether country-level health selection accounted for differences in self-rated health between immigrants and US-born Whites. We combined nationally-representative international data with data from US immigrants from the 2003-2007 Current Population Survey. The health selectivity measure was the Net Difference Index (NDI), which compares the distribution of self-rated health between migrants and non-migrants. We calculated Spearman correlation and bivariate regression coefficients between the NDI and economic, health, distance, and migration characteristics of the sending countries. We used generalized estimating equation models to examine the association between country-level health selection and immigrants' current self-rated health. We found immigrants from South America to show the most positive health selection. Health selection was significantly correlated with visa mode of entry, where family networks decrease, but work-related networks increase health selection. There was little evidence that country-level health selection explained differences in the self-rated health of US immigrants relative to US-born Whites. Our findings do not support the idea that country-level health selection underlies the "healthy immigrant effect".
    No preview · Article · Jun 2016 · Social Science [?] Medicine
  • No preview · Article · Apr 2016 · Social Science [?] Medicine
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Significance: Lethal fetal diagnoses are made in 2% of all pregnancies. The pregnancy experience is certainly changed for the parents who choose to continue the pregnancy with a known fetal diagnosis but little is known about how the psychological and developmental processes are altered. Methods: This longitudinal phenomenological study of 16 mothers and 14 fathers/partners sought to learn the experiences and developmental needs of parents who continue their pregnancy despite the lethal diagnosis. The study was guided by Merleau-Ponty's philosophic view of embodiment. Interviews (N = 90) were conducted with mothers and fathers over time, from mid-pregnancy until 2-3 months post birth. Data analysis was iterative, through a minimum of two cycles of coding, theme identification, within- and cross-case analysis, and the writing of results. Results: Despite individual differences, parents were quite consistent in sharing that their overall goal was to "Have no regrets" when all was said and done. Five stages of pregnancy were identified: Pre-diagnosis, Learning Diagnosis, Living with Diagnosis, Birth & Death, and Post Death. Developmental tasks of pregnancy that emerged were 1) Navigating Relationships, 2) Comprehending Implication of the Condition, 3) Revising Goals of Pregnancy, 4) Making the Most of Time with Baby, 5) Preparing for Birth and Inevitable Death, 6) Advocating for Baby with Integrity, and 7) Adjusting to Life in Absence of Baby. Prognostic certainty was found to be highly influential in parents' progression through developmental tasks. Conclusion: The framework of parents' pregnancy experiences with lethal fetal diagnosis that emerged can serve as a useful guide for providers who care for families, especially in perinatal palliative care. Providing patient-centered care that is matched to the stage and developmental tasks of these families may lead to improved care and greater parent satisfaction.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2016 · Social Science [?] Medicine
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Health inequalities between ethnic majority and ethnic minority members are prevalent in contemporary European societies. In this study we used theories on socioeconomic deprivation and intersectionality to derive expectations on how ethnic inequalities in health may be exacerbated or mitigated by national healthcare policies. To test our hypotheses we used data from six waves of the European Social Survey (2002-2012) on 172,491 individuals living in 24 countries. In line with previous research, our results showed that migrants report lower levels of health than natives. In general a country's healthcare expenditure appears to reduce socioeconomic differences in health, but at the same time induces health differences between recent migrants and natives. We also found that specific policies aimed at reducing socioeconomic inequalities in health appeared to work as intended, but as a side-effect amplified differences between natives and recent migrants in self-assessed health and well-being. Finally, our results indicated that policies specifically directed at the improvement of migrants' health, only affected well-being for migrants who have lived in the receiving country for more than 10 years.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2016 · Social Science [?] Medicine
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa, antiretroviral therapy is seen as the solution to not only treat existing patients, but also to prevent the future spread of HIV. New policies for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission place women on lifelong treatment as soon as they are tested HIV positive. This article looks at how women understand this prescription for lifelong treatment. Drawing on interviews with HIV-positive women in Lilongwe, Malawi (N = 65) during July-September 2014, I examine the process of making treatment decisions, and why - despite increased access - women refuse or stop treatment. Using treatment for preventative purposes transforms the experience of HIV from an acute to a chronic condition where both the symptoms of disease and the efficacy of treatment are unclear. Women look for evidence of the cost and benefit of treatment through their personal experiences with illness and drug-taking. For some women, the benefits were clearer: they interpreted past illnesses as signs of HIV infection, and felt healthier and more economically productive afterwards. For others, taking treatment sometimes led to marital problems, and side effects made them feel worse and disrupted their ability to work. While women understand the health benefits of antiretroviral therapy, taking treatment does not always make sense in their present circumstances when there are costly physical and economic repercussions. This study builds on existing sociological research on medical decision-making by situating decisions in a broader political economy of changing HIV policies, economic conditions, and everyday uncertainty.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2016 · Social Science [?] Medicine
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective: Individual academic achievement is a well-known predictor of adult health, and addressing education inequities may be critical to reducing health disparities. Disparities in school quality are well documented. However, we lack nationally representative studies evaluating the impact of school quality on adult health. We aim to determine whether high school quality predicts adult health outcomes after controlling for baseline health, socio-demographics and individual academic achievement. Methods: We analyzed data from 7037 adolescents who attended one of 77 high schools in the Unites States and were followed into adulthood from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. Selected school-level quality measures-average daily attendance, school promotion rate, parental involvement, and teacher experience-were validated based on ability to predict high school graduation and college attendance. Individual adult health outcomes included self-rated health, diagnosis of depression, and having a measured BMI in the obese range. Results: Logistic regressions controlling for socio-demographics, baseline health, health insurance, and individual academic performance demonstrated that school quality significantly predicted all health outcomes. As hypothesized, attending a school with lower average daily attendance predicted lower self-rated health (Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR) 1.59, p = 0.003) and higher odds of depression diagnosis (AOR 1.35, p = 0.03); and attending a school with higher parent involvement predicted lower odds of obesity (AOR 0.69, p = 0.001). However, attending a school with higher promotion rate also predicted lower self-rated health (AOR1.20, p < 0.001). Conclusions: High school quality may be an important, but complex, social determinant of health. These findings highlight the potential inter-dependence of education and health policy.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2016 · Social Science [?] Medicine
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has long perceived environment as an integral part of the development of body constitution, which is a personal state of health closely related to disease presence. Despite of the ever-growing studies on the clinical effectiveness of TCM and the scientific linking between body constitution and diseases, the geographical influence on body constitution has yet remained an unexplored territory. This study sought to investigate whether the neighbourhood environment is relevant to the composition of body type of a population through statistical multilevel and Geographic Information Systems modelling. The analysis comprised 3277 participants who had completed their body type assessment between 2009 and 2012 inclusive. The multilevel analysis also took simultaneous accounts of both individual-level (gender, age, BMI, type of housing) and area-level (percent greenery, percent road surface, total road intersection, sky view factor, temperature, relative humidity, rainfall and social deprivation index) characteristics to explain geographical variation by body types. Significant random or place effects (p < 0.001) were identified in the multilevel models. The spatial variation of body constitution involved the dynamic interplay between individual and environmental factors. The findings amassed the first scientific indications to back the common belief that place does play a role in the development of body constitution and is worthy of further investigation. By considering spatial and personal attributes simultaneously, the study can yield valuable insights into the patterning of area variation in body constitution and disease presence.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2016 · Social Science [?] Medicine
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Women who engage in transactional sex are not only at increased risk of HIV and intimate partner violence, but also face social risks including gossip and ostracism. These social and physical risks may be dependent on both what a woman expects and needs from her partner and how her community perceives the relationship. Gender theory suggests that some of these social risks may hinge on whether or not a woman’s relationship threatens dominant masculinity. We conducted a qualitative study in Swaziland from September 2013 to October 2014 to explore transactional sex and respectable femininity through the lens of hegemonic gender theory. Using cultural consensus modeling, we identified cultural models of transactional sex and conducted 16 in-depth interviews with model key informants and 3 focus group discussions, for a total of 41 participants. We identified 4 main models of transactional relationships: One typified by marriage and high social respectability, a second in which women aspire towards marriage, a third particular to University students, and a fourth “sugar daddy” model. Women in all models expected and received significant financial support from their male partners. However, women in less respectable relationships risked social censure and stigma if they were discovered, in part because aspects of their relationship threatened hegemonic masculinity. Conversely, women who received male support in respectable relationships had to carefully select HIV risk reduction strategies that did not threaten their relationship and associated social status. Research and programming efforts typically focus only on the less socially respectable forms of transactional sex. This risks reinforcing stigma for women in relationships that are already considered socially unacceptable while ignoring the unique HIV risks faced by women in more respectable relationships.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2016 · Social Science [?] Medicine
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous research has documented an association between birth order and suicide, although no study has examined whether it depends on the cultural context. Our aim was to study the association between birth order and cause-specific mortality in Finland, and whether it varies by ethno-linguistic affiliation. We used data from the Finnish population register, representing a 5% random sample of all Finnish speakers and a 20% random sample of Swedish speakers, who lived in Finland in any year 1987-2011. For each person, there was a link to all children who were alive in 1987. In total, there were 254,059 siblings in 96,387 sibling groups, and 9797 deaths. We used Cox regressions stratified by each siblings group and estimated all-cause and cause-specific mortality risks during the period 1987-2011. In line with previous research from Sweden, deaths from suicide were significantly associated with birth order. As compared to first-born, second-born had a suicide risk of 1.27, third-born of 1.35, and fourth- or higher-born of 1.72, while other causes of death did not display an evident and consistent birth-order pattern. Results for the Finnish-speaking siblings groups were almost identical to those based on both ethno-linguistic groups. In the Swedish-speaking siblings groups, there was no increase in the suicide risk by birth order, but a statistically not significant tendency towards an association with other external causes of death and deaths from cardiovascular diseases. Our findings provided evidence for an association between birth order and suicide among Finnish speakers in Finland, while no such association was found for Swedish speakers, suggesting that the birth order effect might depend on the cultural context.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2016 · Social Science [?] Medicine