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Table 4 Proposed topics for taking a more complete social history

From: Screening for social determinants of health in clinical care: moving from the margins to the mainstream

1. Individual characteristics
• Self-defined race or ethnicity
• Place of birth or nationality
• Primary spoken language
• English literacy
• Life experiences (education, job history, military service, traumatic or life-shaping experiences)
• Gender identification and sexual practices
2. Life circumstances
• Marital status and children
• Family structure, obligations, and stresses
• Housing environment and safety
• Food security
• Legal and immigration issues
• Employment (number of jobs, work hours, stresses/concerns about work)
3. Emotional health
• Emotional state and history of mental illness (e.g., depression, anxiety, trauma, post-traumatic stress)
• Causes of recent and long-term stress
• Positive or negative social network: individual, family, community
• Religious affiliation and spiritual beliefs
4. Perception of health care
• Life goals & priorities; ranking health among other life priorities
• Personal sense of health or fears regarding health care
• Perceived or desired role for health care providers
• Perceptions of medication and medical technology
• Positive or negative health care experiences
• Alternative care practices
• Advance directives for cardiopulmonary resuscitation
5. Health-related behaviors
• Sense of healthy or unhealthy behaviors
• Facilitators of health promotion (e.g., behaviors among peers)
• Triggers for harmful behaviors and motivation to change (determined through motivational interviewing)
• Diet and exercise habits
• Facilitators or barriers to medication adherence
• Tobacco, alcohol, drug use habits
• Safety precautions: seatbelts, helmets, firearms, street violence
6. Access to and utilization of health care
• Health insurance status
• Medication access and affordability
• Health literacy and numeracy
• Barriers to making appointments (e.g., child care, work allowance, affordability of copayment, transportation)
  1. Adapted from reference [27]