Research Topic

Health and Political Behavior

About this Research Topic

Motivation: There is a growing recognition of multiple links between health and politics. As a growing body of research demonstrates, poor health can be a source of political inequality. Health biases, whether small or more substantial, should not be considered solely a personal challenge for those in poor health. From the point of view of inclusive democracy, any kind of health-related obstacle to political engagement is problematic, not only for those suffering from poor health, but also for the political system. Paying attention to health biases in the political process can bring us one step closer to the ideals of exhaustive, low-threshold democracy.

Key issues to be addressed: In addition to critically reviewing the literature on health and political behavior, the proposed Research Topic will identify the key challenges in the field. These include 1) theory formation and, more specifically, the need to develop a fuller understanding of the causal mechanisms and to guard against spurious inferences by identifying potential confounding variables, as well as theorizing the effects of different types of illness; 2) operationalization and especially the distinction between subjective and objective indicators of health status; 3) reverse causation/endogeneity issues with the direction of causality between health and socioeconomic status being especially problematic; 4) context and how relationships between health and political behavior may vary depending on the type of health care system and the nature of the welfare state; 5) interdisciplinarity and the need to move beyond political science and establish collaborations with health scientists, sociologists, health economists, psychologists, and demographers. Finally, our proposed Research Topic will be intended to serve as a catalyst for further research by identifying novel aspects of political behavior that may be influenced by health status (such as policy responsiveness, diffuse and specific support, civic duty, political efficacy).

Target contributors and audience: The call for contributors is aimed at political scientists interested in political participation, voting behavior, and political orientations and ideology, but also experts in fields such as health studies, disability studies, health sociology, and social capital. The proposed Research Topic is expected to attract a broad spectrum of readers: scholars, students and policy-makers with a professional interest in health, politics and equal opportunities for democratic citizenship. It will be highly useful as a state-of-the-art summary for anyone in political science or health-related disciplines who is interested in the impact of health on political behavior at both the mass and elite levels.


Keywords: health, political behavior, inequality, inclusion


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Motivation: There is a growing recognition of multiple links between health and politics. As a growing body of research demonstrates, poor health can be a source of political inequality. Health biases, whether small or more substantial, should not be considered solely a personal challenge for those in poor health. From the point of view of inclusive democracy, any kind of health-related obstacle to political engagement is problematic, not only for those suffering from poor health, but also for the political system. Paying attention to health biases in the political process can bring us one step closer to the ideals of exhaustive, low-threshold democracy.

Key issues to be addressed: In addition to critically reviewing the literature on health and political behavior, the proposed Research Topic will identify the key challenges in the field. These include 1) theory formation and, more specifically, the need to develop a fuller understanding of the causal mechanisms and to guard against spurious inferences by identifying potential confounding variables, as well as theorizing the effects of different types of illness; 2) operationalization and especially the distinction between subjective and objective indicators of health status; 3) reverse causation/endogeneity issues with the direction of causality between health and socioeconomic status being especially problematic; 4) context and how relationships between health and political behavior may vary depending on the type of health care system and the nature of the welfare state; 5) interdisciplinarity and the need to move beyond political science and establish collaborations with health scientists, sociologists, health economists, psychologists, and demographers. Finally, our proposed Research Topic will be intended to serve as a catalyst for further research by identifying novel aspects of political behavior that may be influenced by health status (such as policy responsiveness, diffuse and specific support, civic duty, political efficacy).

Target contributors and audience: The call for contributors is aimed at political scientists interested in political participation, voting behavior, and political orientations and ideology, but also experts in fields such as health studies, disability studies, health sociology, and social capital. The proposed Research Topic is expected to attract a broad spectrum of readers: scholars, students and policy-makers with a professional interest in health, politics and equal opportunities for democratic citizenship. It will be highly useful as a state-of-the-art summary for anyone in political science or health-related disciplines who is interested in the impact of health on political behavior at both the mass and elite levels.


Keywords: health, political behavior, inequality, inclusion


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 July 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 July 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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