Development of a Typology of Risk for Child Health: The Intersection of Social and Medical Factors

Award Year:
Laurie Bauman, Ruth Stein
Child Health
Social and environmental factors have powerful effects on health status, utilization, and costs of care among children. Child health policy in the U.S., however, has focused primarily on biomedical determinants of health, ignoring most social risks. This project augments traditional biological risk factors such as previous access to health services and chronic illness used by policymakers. Drs. Stein and Bauman consider social risk factors, like poverty and parental mental illness, which contribute to child morbidity and the cost of delivering care. Their goal is to improve the ability of policymakers to predict short-term health outcomes (cost and utilization of care) and long-term health outcomes (health status and functioning). They: 1) conceptualize and define social and biomedical risks of children; 2) create independent measures for social and biomedical risk; 3) combine these into a typology that describes the risk experienced by children from the combination of biomedical and social factors; and 4) apply the typology to existing child health data sets.