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Long echo of sociopolitical upheaval: life events and health in East Germany
  1. Nico Dragano1,
  2. Domantas Jasilionis2
  1. 1 Institute for Medical Sociology, University Hospital and Medical Faculty, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany
  2. 2 Laboratory of Demographic Data, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Professor Nico Dragano, Institute of Medical Sociology, University Hospital and Medical Faculty, University of Düsseldorf, Moorenstrasse 5, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany; dragano{at}

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Major sociopolitical upheavals change the course of history. However, this is not to be understood abstractly. The effects of wars, crises, sociopolitical change and technical or cultural innovations are felt first-hand by people in their everyday lives. Numerous findings suggest that social determinants have a lasting impact on the health of individuals and entire societies.1 2 Sociopolitical upheavals are nothing other than a fundamental reorganisation of these determinants—often in a relatively short period—and as such, they are an important subject of epidemiology.

One of the fundamental political and social upheavals of recent decades was the collapse of the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), which took place gradually from the mid-1980s onwards, reaching a dramatic climax in the early 1990s and whose long-term effects are still being felt today. This world-historical event had some drastic consequences for the population health in the countries primarily affected—both positive and negative.3–5 The article by Hahm et al attempts to build a bridge between …

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  • Contributors ND drafted the text, DJ commented and revised, ND and DJ consented a final version.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.