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An analysis based on the social determinants of health allows a better understanding of the impact of covid-19 on children

An analysis based on the social determinants of health allows a better understanding of the impact of covid-19 on children

The intersectional study, conducted by researchers from UPF, the UVic-UCC and the UAB, published in the journal Sociology of Health & Illness, considers the multiple axes of inequality and existing power relations. Its goal is to better understand the social determinants of the covid-19 crisis that have an unequal influence on children’s health and well-being in order to develop strategies for mitigation.

08.11.2022

Imatge inicial

Concerns about the effects of the covid-19 pandemic have focused primarily on the most directly affected social groups, such as the elderly and healthcare professionals. However, far less attention has been paid to understanding the effects of the pandemic on other groups, such as children.

While children’s physical health appears to be less affected than that of the adult population, their mental health, learning and well-being are likely to have been significantly impaired during the pandemic due to the various restrictions imposed and their reduced mobility and social interaction.

An article published in the journal Sociology of Health & Illness, drafted by researchers from the Research Group on Health Inequalities, Environment, Employment Conditions Network (GREDS-EMCONET) of the UPF Department of Political and Social Sciences, the Manresa Faculty of Social Sciences (University of Vic- Central University of Catalunya) and the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UB) provides an intersectional analysis on the impact of covid-19 on children.

“This approach will help not only to better analyse and assess the impact of the pandemic, but also to develop more effective and equitable mitigation strategies, and be better prepared for future pandemics”.

The study presents a conceptual framework that considers the multiple axes of inequality (social class, gender, ethnicity, migration situation, place of residence, etc.) and existing power relations to better understand the social determinants of the covid-19 crisis that have an unequal influence on children’s health and well-being. According to the researchers, “this approach will help not only to better analyse and assess the impact of the pandemic, but also to develop more effective and equitable mitigation strategies, and be better prepared for future pandemics”.

An intersectional approach to reduce inequalities

In their study, the authors apply a dynamic intersectional approach, to ensure a deeper and fuller analysis of the short-, medium- and long-term impact of the multidimensional crisis of covid-19 on children’s health and well-being, which is fundamental to condition and model the opportunities of this group in a given context.

They deem that there are structural determinants (socioeconomic and political context and axes of inequality, such as socioeconomic circumstances, environmental degradation and gender) that operate through intermediate determinants (family and household circumstances, schools and nursery schools, social environment and neighbourhood, media and digital resources).

This approach will enable taking equitable actions to mitigate or curb the social inequalities in health that already exist today.

Therefore, according to the researchers, in the design and implementation of health measures to deal with the current covid-19 pandemic (and possible pandemics and crises in the future), it is essential to consider the different social determinants of health and their intersectionality. This approach will enable taking equitable actions to mitigate or curb the social inequalities in health that already exist today, in order also to address those that affect children, especially those who suffer from racial or gender discrimination.

“Adopting this perspective requires real, coordinated transdisciplinary work between different areas such as health, social services, housing, education and urban planning, among others”, the authors conclude.

Related work: Gabriel Lemkow-Tovías, Louis Lemkow, Lucinda Cash-Gibson, Ester Teixidó-Companyó, Joan Benach (Octuber 2022). “Impact of COVID-19 inequalities on children: An intersectional analysis”. Sociology of Health & Illness.

https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.13557

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SDG - Sustainable Development Goals:

03. Good health and well-being
10. Reduced inequalities
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