The social ecology of health: leverage points and linkages

Behav Med. 2000 Fall;26(3):101-15. doi: 10.1080/08964280009595758.


The authors demonstrate the usefulness of social ecology theory for improving the treatment and prevention of poor health. The social ecology of health, unlike the topics of previous triptychs in Behavioral Medicine, is a field without a clearly defined body of literature. We begin with an overview of the ecological perspective and ecological theory as outlined by Bronfenbrenner and colleagues, provide examples of how ecological concepts have been demonstrated to influence health, and discuss how these concepts can be used by health professionals. We present a heuristic model illustrating leverage points and linkages (i.e., socioeconomic status, family, work, and school), for health, and we conclude with a consideration of the benefits of social ecology to health professionals and a summary of the limitations of the ecological model.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ecology*
  • Family
  • Health Promotion*
  • Health*
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sociology, Medical*
  • Work