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Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. 2008 Aug;28(3):649-64, x. doi: 10.1016/j.iac.2008.03.007.

Does the social environment contribute to asthma?

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Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia,Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada.


The impact of the social environment on asthma has recently begun to receive increasing attention. This article reviews the current literature to investigate the impact of the social environment at three levels-the neighborhood level, the peer level, and the family level-and to explore pathways through which the social environment "gets under the skin" to impact asthma onset and morbidity. Research to date suggests that adverse social conditions at the neighborhood and family levels impact asthma morbidity through direct effects on physiologic systems as well as by altering health behaviors. The impact on asthma of social networks, such as friendships, is less clear and will need to be investigated further. Future research will need to take into account the impact of the social environment to develop more comprehensive models of asthma pathogenesis.

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