Constrained Choice and Health Disparities

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 14:15-15:45
Location: Hörsaal 32 (Main Building)
RC15 Sociology of Health (host committee)

Language: English

The proposed session will invite papers on how constrained choice shapes health capacity and disparities. Constrained Choice Theory articulates how social position and policies determine the options individuals have in making everyday choices that cumulatively impact their lives and health. Such personal agency may be impeded or enhanced at times by interactions among social positions such as gender, class, race/ethnicity, or sexual orientation. The constraints that affect an individual’s agency and decision-making can occur at the levels of family, work, community, and broader public policy and operate to narrow or expand the range and relative economic and noneconomic costs associated with options which relate to the promotion or restoration of health. 
Current research will examine how constrained choice works with extreme cases, those living at a given society’s margins, as well as those in other social positions. The examples will include the myriad of personal constraints and laws or policies that differentially disadvantage particular racial/ethnic, immigrant groups or sexual minorities by creating barriers to education, employment and other routine activities, with far-reaching consequences for all aspects of individuals’ lives. Constraints can also affect the personal agency, life chances, and health of advantaged groups in more subtle ways. 
Papers for the session will examine how the options that an individual has, or can afford to choose from, are socially and economically patterned in ways that contribute to differential exposures and risks, thereby shaping life chances across various health conditions and outcomes.
Session Organizers:
Chloe BIRD, RAND, USA and Patricia RIEKER, Boston University, USA
Patricia RIEKER, Boston University, USA
Chloe BIRD, Pardee RAND Graduate School, USA
A Multilevel Test of Constrained Choices Theory: The Case of Tobacco Clean Air Restrictions
Michael VUOLO, The Ohio State University, USA; Joy KADOWAKI, Purdue University, USA; Brian C. KELLY, Purdue University, USA
Constrained Choice: Gender Bias and Quality of Routine Care for Cardiovascular Disease
Chloe BIRD, Pardee RAND Graduate School, USA; Allen FREMONT, RAND, USA
Lifestyle Routine in the Structure/Agency Dynamics: Health Behaviors Enabled or Constrained, Cancer Screening As an Example
Paula FEDER-BUBIS, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel; Lea HAGOEL, Department of Community Medicine and Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, Technion, Israel
Constrained Choice, Perinatal Health, and Intimate Partner Victimization (IPV)
Angela MOE, Western Michigan University, USA; Catherine KOTHARI, Western Michigan University, USA
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