COVID-19 and Adverse Social Determinants of Health

Saul G. Alamilla, Kennesaw State University
Miguel Ángel Cano, Florida International University


This introduction to the Special Issue (SI) on COVID-19 and adverse social determinants of health (SDoH) provides theoretical and empirical context for featured articles. Existing disparities and inequities are highlighted and emerging research on disparities resulting from these and the COVID-19 pandemic are briefly reviewed. General disparities and inequities resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic are briefly conceptualized through the SDoH. Critical factors outlined by the SDoH framework parallel those discussed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as those in a conceptual framework article also feature in this SI. Some of these consist of racism, exclusion, blocked opportunity, and socioeconomic status (SES), among others. Furthermore, we discuss broader social inequities, namely growing income and wealth inequality that undermine the health and wellbeing of the general population and ethnic minority groups in particular. Big Event theory is offered as an additional conceptual framework that can illuminate potential downstream negative impacts of the pandemic. Having provided summaries of featured articles in this SI, we make a call for researchers to engage in further theoretical and empirical work to identify the most critical SDOH to further the field of public health as well as related fields and inform policy.