Mechanism substitution in preventive innovations: Dissecting the reproduction of health inequalities in the United States

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In the last three decades, numerous studies in different countries have corroborated the main postulates of the Fundamental Cause Theory (FCT), providing evidence showing how health inequalities are reproduced as society increases its capacity to control disease and/or avoid its consequences through preventive innovations. However, documenting the reproductive logic proposed by the theory requires the development of a dynamic analytical approach to consider socioeconomic disparities in the incorporation of multiple preventive innovations over time, which could act as mediating mechanisms of the durable relationship between socioeconomic status and health/mortality. This study draws on data from different waves of the National Health Interview Survey and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to analyze the diffusion processes of various innovations in the U.S. The results of the study show that educational inequalities emerge, are amplified, and are reduced by the continuous diffusion of preventive innovations, supporting the meta-hypothesis of substitution of mediating mechanisms according to the interconnections of FCT and Diffusion of Innovation Theory.
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Gobierno de España Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (PID2019-103853RA-I00; 10.13039/501100011033; Healthy Cultural Scenes: the symbolic-cultural context). Gobierno de España Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades. Estancias de movilidad en el extranjero José Castillejo (CAS18/00417). Funding for open access publishing: Universidad Pablo de Olavide.
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Social Science & Medicine, vol 337, 116262
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