Social Problems

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  • Edition: 15th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2016-01-05
  • Publisher: Pearson

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


For courses in Social Problems.


Understanding Social Problems: Sparking the Sociological Imagination Through a Theme-Based Approach

Extensively updated and revised, and now emphasizing signature concepts that reflect the perspective of new author Karen Seccombe, this Fifteenth Edition of Social Problems maintains its focus on one overarching goal–to spark a sociological imagination. The text’s pedagogical devices help readers to more clearly see how many individual issues and personal problems are rooted in the social arrangements of society. Four major themes guide this edition of the text: an empirical methodology; linking individual experience with social structure; recognizing that social inequality contributes to social problems; and a comparative approach.


With features that emphasize first-person accounts, recent problems in the public spotlight, critical discussion of partisan debates, and a global view of social problems, this Fifteenth Edition of the text explores social problems that are relevant and engaging to readers–from same-sex marriage to police use of force to climate change.


Also available with MySocLab®

MySocLab for the Social Problems course extends learning online to engage students and improve results. Media resources with assignments bring concepts to life, and offer students opportunities to practice applying what they’ve learned. Please note: this version of MySocLab does not include an eText.


Social Problems, Fifteenth Edition is also available via REVEL , an interactive learning environment that enables students to read, practice, and study in one continuous experience.


Note: You are purchasing a standalone product; MyLab & Mastering does not come packaged with this content. Students, if interested in purchasing this title with MyLab & Mastering, ask your instructor for the correct package ISBN and Course ID. Instructors, contact your Pearson representative for more information.


If you would like to purchase boththe physical text and MyLab & Mastering, search for:


0134126726 / 9780134126722 Social Problems Plus MySocLab for Social Problems  — Access Card Package, 15/e


Package consists of:

  • 0133974588 / 9780133974584     Social Problems, 15/e
  • 0134106911 / 9780134106915     MySocLab for Social Problems 

Author Biography

Karen Seccombe is a professor in the School of Community Health at Portland State University, located in Portland, Oregon. She received her B.A. in sociology at California State University, Chico, her M.S.W. in health and social welfare policy from the University of Washington, and her Ph.D. in sociology from Washington State University. Her research focuses on poverty, welfare, access to health care, and the effects of social inequality on families. She is the author of Marriage and Family: You and Society (Pearson); “So You Think I Drive a Cadillac?”: Welfare Recipients’ Perspectives on the System and its Reform, Third Edition (Allyn and Bacon); Families in Poverty (Allyn and Bacon); Just Don’t Get Sick: Access to Health Care in the Aftermath of Welfare Reform, with Kim Hoffman (Rutgers University Press), and Marriages and Families: Relationships in Social Context, with Rebecca L. Warner (Wadsworth). She is a National Council on Family Relations fellow, and a member of the American Sociological Association, and the Pacific Sociological Association, where she has held elective offices. Karen lives in Portland with her husband Richard, a health economist, her ten-year-old daughter, Natalie Rose, and her eight-year-old daughter, Olivia Lin. In her spare time she enjoys hiking near their cabin in the Oregon Cascades, walking the sandy beaches of the Oregon coast, exploring the kid-friendly playgrounds, attractions, and restaurants in Portland and surrounding areas, and traveling just about anywhere—the San Juan Islands are high on her list.


William Kornblum conducts research on urban, social ecology, and community studies. Among his publications are: At Sea in the City: New York from the Water’s Edge; Blue Collar Community, a study of the steel mill neighborhoods of  South Chicago; Growing Up Poor and Uptown Kids, written with Terry Williams, and West 42nd Street, the Bright Lights, which  during the 1980s became a guide to understanding the street life of lower Times Square. He has served as a social scientist for the U.S. Department of Interior and worked on the development of national parks and environmental reserves in the nation's metropolitan regions. He is also the author of two popular undergraduate textbooks, Social Problems (Pearson) and Sociology in a Changing World (Wadsworth). Kornblum received his PhD in sociology from the University of Chicago (1971) and his undergraduate degree in biology from Cornell (1961). He taught physics and chemistry as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ivory Coast (1962-63) and was on the faculty at the University of Washington before he came to the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in 1973.


Joseph Julian has a B.A. from San Francisco State University, and a M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Washington in Sociology. He has taught a wide variety of courses, at the University of Washington, Kansas State University, the University of Nebraska, California State University, Bakersfield, and San Francisco State University. His administrative experience includes being a department chairman, an administrative fellow, an Associate Dean, Dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at SFSU, and the first University Dean for Human Relations at SFSU. After nearly twenty years as a university administrator and a sabbatical leave, Dr. Julian returned to the classroom to teach sociology with a special emphasis on social problems. Dr. Julian's scholarly research includes studies at several Seattle hospitals, San Quentin prison and the Nebraska State Prison for Women, and have appeared in such journals as Sociological Quarterly, Social Forces, American Sociological Review, and Research Bulletin. Along with his publications, Dr. Julian has continued to present papers such as "Beyond Tolerance: Enhancing Diversity and Promoting Inclusiveness at San Francisco State University," read at the International Congress on Challenges to Education: Balancing Unity and Diversity in a Changing World in 1996 in Aruba, Dutch Caribbean. His community involvement includes service on a Citizen's Police Review Board, the Community Advisory Committee to the Mission Community College Center, the Institutional Review Board of Asian American Recovery Services, Inc., and the San Francisco-Manila Sister City Committee. He was a member of the San Francisco Ethics Commission, and is currently vice president of the San Francisco Juvenile Probation Commission.

Table of Contents

1. Sociological Perspectives on Social Problems

2. Problems of Health and Healthcare

3. Problems of Mental Illness and Treatment        

4. Alcohol and Other Drugs          

5. Crime and Violence    

6. Poverty amid Affluence            

7. Racism, Prejudice, and Discrimination                

8. Sex and Gender           

9. An Aging Society         

10. The Changing Family

11. Problems of Education           

12. Problems of Work and the Economy  

13. Population and Immigration 

14. Technology and the Environment       

15. Summing Up the Sociological Imagination: War and Global Insecurity

Rewards Program

Reviews for Social Problems (9780133974584)