A systematic review of literature examining the application of a social model of health and wellbeing

Rachel Rahman, Caitlin Reid, Philip Kloer, Anna Henchie, Andrew Thomas*, Reyer Zwiggelaar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

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Following years of sustained pressure on the UK health service, there is recognition amongst health professionals and stakeholders that current models of healthcare are likely to be inadequate going forward. Therefore, a fundamental review of existing social models of healthcare is needed to ascertain current thinking in this area, and whether there is a need to change perspective on current thinking.

Through a systematic research review, this paper seeks to address how previous literature has conceptualized a social model of healthcare and, how implementation of the models has been evaluated. Analysis and data were extracted from 222 publications and explored the country of origin, methodological approach, and the health and social care contexts which they were set.

The publications predominantly drawn from the USA, UK, Australia, Canada and Europe identified five themes namely: the lack of a clear and unified definition of a social model of health and wellbeing; the need to understand context; the need for cultural change; improved integration and collaboration towards a holistic and person-centred approach; measuring and evaluating the performance of a social model of health.

The review identified a need for a clear definition of a social model of health and wellbeing. Furthermore, consideration is needed on how a model integrates with current models and whether it will act as a descriptive framework or, will be developed into an operational model. The review highlights the importance of engagement with users and partner organizations in the co-creation of a model of healthcare.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-472
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue number3
Early online date26 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - 07 Jun 2024


  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Canada
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • United Kingdom


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