In this exciting book, William Cockerham, a leading medical sociologist, assesses the evidence that social factors have direct causal effects on health and many diseases. He argues that stress, poverty, unhealthy lifestyles, and unpleasant living and work conditions can all be directly associated with illness. Noting a new emphasis upon social structure in both theory and multi-level research techniques, he argues that a paradigm shift is now emerging in 21st century medical sociology, which looks beyond individual explanations for health and disease.
As the old gives way to the new in medical sociology, the field is headed toward a fundamentally different orientation. William Cockerham's clear and compelling account is at the forefront of these changes. This lively and accessible book offers a coherent introduction to social epidemiology, as well as challenging aspects of the existing literature. It will be indispensable reading for all students and scholars of medical sociology, especially those with the courage to confront the possibility that society really does make people sick.show more