Theory and empiricism: A comment on “Interrogating the environmental affordances model” by Pamplin and colleagues

Briana Mezuk, Juan Del Toro, Margaret Gough Courtney, Keri F. Kirk, Xing Zhang, Erica C. Spears, Tiffany Green, Hedwig Lee, Darrell Hudson

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


We strongly support efforts to generate, rigorously test, and falsify hypotheses derived from the Environmental Affordances (EA) Model of Health Disparities, as originated by the late Dr. James S. Jackson (1940–2020). Such efforts are critical to establishing robust, theoretically grounded scientific frameworks that explain the fundamental causes of racial disparities in health and wellbeing. Pamplin et al. (2021) fundamentally misrepresents the EA Model as a framework that (falsely) reifies the role of race as a determinant of health behaviors and health outcomes. Further, both their study design and analytic approach are inappropriate for testing predictions of this framework. We address these issues with the goal of recentering the scholarly conversation about how stress contributes to health, and disparities in health, over the life course.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number114281
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Conceptual models
  • Disparities
  • Mental health
  • Scientific rigor
  • Theory development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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