248690 Contesting relative deprivation: A multidisciplinary theoretical and historical critique

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 5:10 PM

Afamia Kaddour, MPH , Unité 1018 Equipe 11, Epidémiologie des déterminants professionnels et sociaux de la santé, INSERM (Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale), Villejuif, France
Nisreen Salti, PhD MPA , Economics, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
Relative deprivation, conceptualized as a form of subjective relative comparison, is a relatively new notion in Public Health with roots in social psychology, economics and sociology. Coined by Stouffer, this notion recently gained prominence in public health as a potential mechanism explaining health inequalities resulting from social and economic inequalities. However, its definition within public health is divorced from its theoretical and historical contexts. This paper is a review of the literature around relative deprivation since its conception, documenting its definitions, the conceptual frameworks proposed to explain it, and the various measurement strategies adopted to quantify it. The criticism it has received is also investigated, especially regarding the lack of theoretical rigor and standardized empirical methods for testing it. A review of relative deprivation in the public health literature follows and important conclusions are drawn underscoring the need for caution in using such a notion since it relies on the interpretations of the effect of social and economic inequalities on health at the level of the individual, rather than addressing the structural causes and determinants of these inequalities.

Learning Areas:
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the progression of the concept of relative deprivation from social psychology to economics and political science, sociology and from there to public health. Analyze the conceptual frameworks proposed to explain relative deprivation in each literature. Assess the measurement strategies adopted. Identify the weaknesses of the theoretical contexts in which the concept of relative deprivation emerges in public health as a mechanism explaining health inequities.

Keywords: Social Inequalities, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have conducted research on the topic and have co-written the paper.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.