Complexity and human health: The case for a transdisciplinary paradigm

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Transdisciplinary thinking is an emerging philosophy underpinning health social science. We advance a definition of transdisciplinary thinking and link it with complexity theory. Complexity theory's concern with non-linear relationships, interactive causality and emergent properties of systems compels researchers to adopt a transdisciplinary perspective. We construct a generic framework for analyzing health processes from diverse disciplines and apply it to coronary heart disease in the Australian Coalfields. Insights from this analysis support our argument that transdisciplinary thinking maximizes understanding of the complexity of human health.




Albrecht, G., Freeman, S., & Higginbotham, N. (1998). Complexity and human health: The case for a transdisciplinary paradigm. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, 22(1), 55–92.

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