Social Determinants of Mental Health in Rural, Remote, and Very Remote Contexts

Judith M. Gullifer, Mikaela Cibich, Timothy Carey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review


The important influence of the social determinants of health on the physical health status of individuals and communities is well established. Factors such as employment, education, and housing all make decisive contributions to the physical health a person enjoys. What is not as readily recognized is that the social determinants also have a very strong impact on a person’s mental health. The ability of a person to live a contented and satisfying life has a lot to do with the conditions and circumstances in which they live, work, play, and age. Crucially, these social determinants are likely to affect people differentially with greater or lesser impacts in rural, remote, and very remote (RRvR) locations. Of particular importance in developing a nuanced understanding of the contributions the social determinants make to a person’s mental state is appreciating the fundamental significance of control. Also crucial is a recognition of the inadequacy of linear cause-effect models and the necessity to incorporate bidirectional, mutually influencing models for a more sophisticated understanding of how people function within the environments they inhabit. After describing the way in which the social determinants might be considered in RRvR areas, the chapter concludes with an illustration of the way in which a case conceptualization might occur if the social determinants are thoroughly and genuinely incorporated.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Rural, Remote, and very Remote Mental Health
EditorsTimothy A. Carey, Judith Gullifer
Place of PublicationSingapore
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9789811566318, 9789811566325
ISBN (Print)9789811566301
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Social determinants
  • Control
  • Community
  • Life course
  • Housing

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