The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3079.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - 8:30 AM

Abstract #61534

Critical social theory: A philosophical basis for sociobiological inquiry into public health nursing health disparities research

Dinah Phillips Welch, MSN, ARNP and Shawn M. Kneipp, PhD, ARNP. College of Nursing, University of Florida, PO Box 100187, Gainesville, FL 32610-0187, 352-378-9624,

SES-related disparities of chronic diseases with some of the highest morbidity, and mortality rates among women have widened over the past several years despite efforts to close the gap. Many social and economic issues such as poverty, economic inequalities, lack of affordable housing, and deteriorating neighborhoods, significantly influence the health of millions. Critical Social Theory (CST) in nursing inquiry is a logical philosophical standpoint from which to address health disparities in women with the goal of eliminating oppressive socioeconomic conditions.

The utilization of a socio-biological frame work incorporating multi-level analyses allows for establishing stronger relationships regarding posited aggregate level influences on individual level variables, including altered physiologic processes believed to play a role in chronic disease. For example, McEwen’s allostatic load model is based on the premise that chronic physical and psychological stressors occur within a social and economic context, and that accumulation of allostatic load (an index of wear and tear on the body over time) plays a role in the pathogenesis of select chronic diseases,

The purpose of this paper is to advocate for the use of CST as a philosophic basis that guides public health nursing research and practice. The use of combined research methodologies grounded in CST that incorporate sociobiological frameworks and multilevel analyses to better understand how oppressive social and economic circumstances affect health is valuable to health disparities work. This approach may require shifting paradigms that guide public health nursing praxis, and a willingness to explore new avenues and less familiar philosophical territory.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Health Disparities, Public Health Nursing

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Violence and Health Disparity Research

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA