Life course influences on health and health inequalities: A socialisation perspective

Matthias Richter, Klaus Hurrelmann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This paper reviews life course approaches applied in epidemiology, sociology and psychology and proposes a theoretical framework that integrates the concept of socialisation. We argue that the paradigmatic principles of interdisciplinary life course research (human agency, timing in lives, linked lives and historical context) provide a strong basis for a more holistic and theory-driven view of the life course and its interdependent pathways. The 'agency within structure' paradigm on which these principles are based is an essential part of socialisation theory. We emphasize that socialisation theory has the potential to act as a theoretical link between social science and epidemiology, because it offers a multi-causal framework to illuminate the association between social structure and health across the life course. In order to better understand the development of health and health inequalities in a life course perspective, an interdisciplinary approach is required. The increased attention to socialisation principles might open new dialogue and empirical research perspectives for health sociology and epidemiology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-280
Number of pages17
JournalZeitschrift fur Soziologie der Erziehung und Sozialisation
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Ageing
  • Health
  • Life course
  • Social inequalities
  • Socialisation theory


Dive into the research topics of 'Life course influences on health and health inequalities: A socialisation perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this