It is hardly a revolutionary concept that the kind of society in which one lives has potentially profound impacts upon one’s health. Even animal models such as baboons where elevated stress hormone levels and cardiovascular disease risk mark
Work by Jonathan Covault adds yet another dimension to this already troubling situation by revealing that not only do failures to adequately address social determinants of health introduce additional stressors it does so in those who are genetically most vulnerable to the consequences. Covault et al. focus their efforts on the 5-HTTLPR gene that has often been associated with impaired ability to develop appropriate stress responses and consequently unhealthy compensatory mechanisms. In those reared in safer and more supportive environments, the genes guard those who possess them against depression, drug dependence, alcoholism, and better equip them to deal with stressors. Unfortunately, these genes so beneficial in stable environments elevate the risk of deleterious behaviors in those with more traumatic and less nurturing environments during early childhood. Considerations of factors like these are especially compelling given that only a small portion of the stark divides in health outcomes can be traced directly to inequitable resource distribution.
Given the undeniable interplay of social mobility and health, addressing social factors is vital for not only the health of individuals but also that of a nation where at least nominally all men are created equal.
 Sapolsky, R. M. “The Influence Of Social Hierarchy On Primate Health.” Science: 648-52.
 Covault, Jonathan, Howard Tennen, Stephen Armeli, Tamlin S. Conner, Aryeh I. Herman, Antonius H.N. Cillessen, and Henry R. Kranzler. “Interactive Effects Of The Serotonin Transporter 5-HTTLPR Polymorphism And Stressful Life Events On College Student Drinking And Drug Use.” Biological Psychiatry: 609-16.
 Amat, J., M V Baratta, E. Paul, S T Bland, L R Watkins, and S F Maier. “Medial Prefrontal Cortex Determines How
Stressor Controllability Affects Behavior and Dorsal Raphe Nucleus.” Nature Neuroscience: 365-71.