Introduction to special issue on social ecological approaches to community health research and action

David William Lounsbury, Shannon Gwin Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

We have the potential to make new, substantive contributions to resolving our most pressing community health problems. However, to do so we must adopt a philosophy of science that is directed towards understanding the dynamic complexity and full contextual reality surrounding these issues. A social ecological approach to science is ideally suited to this challenge. This framework is systems-oriented and defines research problems in terms of structures and processes, generating research outcomes that give insight into the dynamic interaction of individuals with their environment across time and space. Though community psychology is built upon social ecological principles, researchers from other disciplines have also noted its utility and implemented interventions based on this framework. In our introductory article to this special issue on social ecological approaches to community health research and action, we present a brief review of the theoretical foundations of the social ecological approach, present highlights from our selected manuscripts, and conclude with some reflections about the need to build further capacity to conduct effective social ecological research to foster community health and well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-220
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Community Psychology
Volume44
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009

Keywords

  • Community health
  • Research and action
  • Social ecological

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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