Moving Beyond ‘Socioeconomic Status’ to Social Class Processes in Public Health

Presenter:Prins Headshot
Seth Prins, PhD, MPH
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Department of Sociomedical Sciences and
Department of Social Work, Columbia University


It is well known that there is a “social gradient of health,” or an inverse relationship between socioeconomic status and physical and mental health. However, most public health professionals conceptualize socioeconomic status using a stratificationist theoretical approach, but this neglects critical factors. In this webinar, Dr. Seth Prins discusses two other relational theoretical approaches to conceptualizing socioeconomic status: Weberian and Marxian. He discusses how these approaches impact our understanding of socioeconomic status and class on mental health, including depression and anxiety, and some of their mechanisms and causal pathways. Dr. Prins also describes epidemiological research into mental health and and how these social determinants of health manifest in the modern workforce.

Course Objectives:

  • To distinguish between socioeconomic status and class
  • To describe stratificationist, Weberian, and Marxian theoretical approaches to social inequality
  • To describe what it means to apply a class perspective to psychiatric epidemiology research
  • To explain the impact of social inequality on mental health from multiple theoretical perspectives

Continuing Education: 1.0 CPH, 1.0 CHES

Council on Linkages Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals (2014 Version)

  • Primary Competency Domain: Analysis and Assessment/Program Planning and Policy Development
  • Specific competencies:

1A1, 1A2, 1A3, 1A4, 1A5, 1A6, 1A7, 1A9, 1A10, 1A11, 1A13, 1B1, 1B2, 1B3, 1B4, 1B5, 1B6, 1B7, 1B9, 1B10, 1B12, 1C1, 1C2, 1C4, 1C5, 1C6, 1C7, 1C9,  2A5, 2A6, 3A2, 3A5, 3B2, 3B5, 3C2, 3C5, 5A2, 5A3, 5A7, 5B3, 5B10, 5C3, 6A1, 6A3, 6A4, 6A5, 6A8, 6B1, 6B3, 6B5, 6B9, 6C1, 6C5, 6C6, 6C9, 7A1, 8A1, 8A2, 8A3, 8A5, 8A8, 8B1, 8B2, 8B5, 8C1

Click on the appropriate button to begin.

I do not work for a State or Local Health Department in NYS.

I do work for a State or a Local Health Department in NYS.

If you are employed by NYS or a local health department in NYS, we recommend that you register for this course through the NYS Department of Health Learning Management System (DOH LMS).

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

ACEEE is an nonprofit dedicated to advancing energy efficiency for economic prosperity and environmental protection. The ACEEE offers a variety of energy efficiency “portals” for visitors to peruse in order to learn about energy consumption and existing energy efficiency policies across multiple sectors in the US. News and blog articles, publications (research reports), and a calendar of events, focused on all things relating to clean energy, provide additional information on ways to promote energy security in the US.

CDC Community Health Improvement Navigator

The CDC Community Health Improvement Navigator (CHI Navigator) is a website for people who lead or participate in CHI work within hospitals and health systems, public health agencies, and other community organizations. It is a one-stop-shop that offers community stakeholders expert-vetted tools and resources for:

-Depicting visually the who, what, where, and how of improving community health
-Making the case for collaborative approaches to community health improvement
-Establishing and maintaining effective collaborations
-Finding interventions that work for the greatest impact on health and well-being for all

One of the four action areas by which you can seach the database is “Socioeconomic Factors.” This allows professionals to narrow down their search to better address social determinants of health.