Getting Under the Skin: Children’s Health Disparities as Embodiment of Social Class

  • Michael R. Kramer
  • Eric B. Schneider
  • Jennifer B. Kane
  • Claire Margerison-Zilko
  • Jessica Jones-Smith
  • Katherine King
  • Pamela Davis-Kean
  • Joseph G. Grzywacz
Article

Abstract

Social class gradients in children’s health and development are ubiquitous across time and geography. The authors develop a conceptual framework relating three actions of class—material allocation, salient group identity, and inter-group conflict—to the reproduction of class-based disparities in child health. A core proposition is that the actions of class stratification create variation in children’s mesosystems and microsystems in distinct locations in the ecology of everyday life. Variation in mesosystems (e.g., health care, neighborhoods) and microsystems (e.g., family structure, housing) become manifest in a wide variety of specific experiences and environments that produce the behavioral and biological antecedents to health and disease among children. The framework is explored via a review of theoretical and empirical contributions from multiple disciplines, and high-priority areas for future research are highlighted.

Keywords

Children’s health Social class Health status disparity Social theory 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael R. Kramer
    • 1
  • Eric B. Schneider
    • 2
  • Jennifer B. Kane
    • 3
  • Claire Margerison-Zilko
    • 4
  • Jessica Jones-Smith
    • 5
  • Katherine King
    • 6
  • Pamela Davis-Kean
    • 7
  • Joseph G. Grzywacz
    • 8
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health Emory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Economic HistoryLondon School of Economics and Political ScienceLondonUK
  3. 3.Department of SociologyUniversity CaliforniaIrvineUSA
  4. 4.Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, College of Human MedicineMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  5. 5.Department of International HealthJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  6. 6.Department of Community and Family MedicineDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  7. 7.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  8. 8.Department of Family & Child SciencesFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

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