Clarifying how social epidemiological research constructs the category of low socioeconomic status: A response to Kamphuis et al

Ilse Dijkstra*, Klasien Horstman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/Letter to the editorAcademicpeer-review


In our previous article, published in this journal, we argued that epidemiology has a constructive role with regard to socioeconomic health inequalities. We concluded that, as long as the construction of LSES remains unquestioned, social epidemiology might continue to (re)produce what it examines: LSES populations 'known to be unhealthy'. Recently, in this journal, Kamphuis et al. responded to our article. While they welcomed our reflections, the authors also posed critique to our arguments. In this paper, we respond to that critique and deepen the discussion on the use of (L)SES categories in social epidemiology. For this purpose, we further clarify our arguments and state that in health inequality research it is important to: 1) Pay attention to the unintended effects of research; 2) Consider the origin and effects of explanatory concepts; and 3) reflect on the norms of cultural capital.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115610
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Early online date17 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

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