Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior Section: Content Category 10A

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Social inequality

Barriers to the access of institutional resources exist for the segment of the population that is disenfranchised or lacks power within a given society. Barriers to access might include language, geographic location, socioeconomic status, immigration status, and racial/ethnic identity. Institutionalized racism and discrimination are also factors which prevent some groups from obtaining equal access to resources. An understanding of the barriers to the access of institutional resources, informed by perspectives such as social justice, is essential to address health and healthcare disparities.

The content in this category covers spatial inequality, the structure and patterns of social class, and health disparities in relation to class, race/ethnicity, and gender.

Topic Level Key:

The abbreviations found in parentheses indicate the course(s) in which undergraduate students at many colleges and universities learn about the topics and associated subtopics. The course abbreviations are:

SOC: one semester of introductory sociology 

Please note topics that appear on multiple content lists will be treated differently. Questions will focus on the topics as they are described in the narrative for the content category.

Spatial Inequality (SOC)

  • Sensation

    • Residential segregation

    • Neighborhood safety and violence

    • Environmental justice (location and exposure to health risks)

Social Class (SOC)

  • Aspects of social stratification

    • Social class and socioeconomic status

    • Class consciousness and false consciousness

    • Cultural capital and social capital

    • Social reproduction

    • Power, privilege, and prestige

    • Intersectionality (e.g., race, gender, age)

    • Socioeconomic gradient in health

    • Global inequalities

  • Patterns of social mobility

    • Intergenerational and intragenerational mobility

    • Vertical and horizontal mobility

    • Meritocracy

  • Poverty

    • Relative and absolute poverty

    • Social exclusion (segregation and isolation)

Health Disparities (SOC)

  • e.g., class, gender, and race inequalities in health.

Healthcare Disparities (SOC)

  • e.g., class, gender, and race inequalities in health care.

Additional Review: Khan Academy MCAT Collection Tutorials

To support your studies, see the following video tutorials below from the Khan Academy MCAT Collection. The videos and associated questions were created by the Khan Academy in collaboration with the AAMC and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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