In this stimulating book, William C. Cockerham, a leading medical sociologist, assesses the evidence that social factors (such as stress, poverty, unhealthy lifestyles, and unpleasant living and work conditions) have direct causal effects on health and many diseases. Noting a new emphasis upon social structure in both theory and multi-level research techniques, the author argues that a paradigm shift has been emerging in 21st-century medical sociology, which looks beyond individual explanations for health and disease. The field has headed toward a fundamentally different orientation, and Cockerham's work has been at the forefront of these changes. The second edition of his compelling account has been thoroughly revised and updated with further contemporary developments, and also includes an expanded discussion of the relationship between race and health as well as new material on health care reform and social policy. This engaging text 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.
William C. Cockerham is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA.