11th Edition

The Sociology of Health, Healing, and Illness

By Gregory Weiss, Denise Copelton Copyright 2023
    508 Pages 68 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    508 Pages 68 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    With thorough coverage of inequality in health care access and practice, this leading textbook is widely acclaimed by instructors as the most comprehensive of any available. Written in an engaging and accessible style, with multiple student-friendly features, it integrates recent research in medical sociology and public health to introduce students to a wide range of issues affecting health, healing, and health care today.

    This new edition links information on COVID-19 into each chapter, providing students with a solid understanding of the social history of medicine; social epidemiology; social stress; health and illness behavior; the profession of medicine; nurses and allied health workers; complementary and alternative medicine; the physician-patient relationship; medical ethics; and the financing and organization of medical care.

    Important changes and enhancements in the eleventh edition include:

    • Inclusion of material on COVID-19 in the main text of every chapter, with special sections at the end of each chapter exploring additional intersections of COVID-19 with chapter content.
    • Expanded coverage of fundamental cause theory and the social determinants of health.
    • New centralized discussions of how and why social disparities in race, class, gender, and sexual identity impact health outcomes in the United States.
    • New “In the Field” boxed inserts on topics such as medical education and student debt, physicians’ use of medical jargon, and corporate greed.
    • New “In Comparative Focus” boxed inserts on topics such as the 1918 influenza pandemic, infant and maternal mortality in Afghanistan, the patient care coordination process, drug prices, long-term care, and global health.
    • A more in-depth look at both physician and nursing shortages.
    • Expanded discussion of nurse burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Curricular and pedagogical changes in medical schools.
    • Discussion of continued changes in the financing of the US health care system.
    • A more in-depth look at quality concerns in nursing homes.
    • Increased attention to the health care systems in Norway, Germany, Cuba, and Mexico.
    • An updated instructor’s guide with test bank and PowerPoint slides.



    List of Tables and Figures

    1 A Brief Introduction to the Sociology of Health, Healing, and Illness

    2 The Development of Scientific Medicine

    3 Social Epidemiology

    4 Social Stress

    5 Health Behavior

    6 Experiencing Illness and Disability

    7 Physicians and the Profession of Medicine

    8 Medical Education and the Socialization of Physicians

    9 Nurses, Advance Practice Providers, and Allied Health Workers

    10 Complementary and Alternative Medicine

    11 The Physician–Patient Relationship

    12 Professional and Ethical Obligations of Physicians in the Physician–Patient Relationship

    13 The United States Health Care System

    14 Health Care Delivery

    15 The Social Implications of Advanced Health Care Technology

    16 Comparative Health Care Systems

    Name Index

    Subject Index


    Denise A. Copelton, PhD, is Professor of Sociology and Department Chair at The State University of New York (SUNY) at Brockport. One of the first social scientists to study celiac disease and gluten-free eating, her work has been published in Social Science & Medicine, Sociology of Health & Illness, Advances in Gender Research, and Deviant Behavior, among other outlets. She is co-author (with Amy Guptill and Betsy Lucal) of Food & Society: Principles and Paradoxes, now in its third edition. She regularly teaches courses on introductory sociology, sociology of health and illness, sociology of families, and aging and the life course. Her college-wide leadership was recognized in 2019 with the prestigious SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Faculty Service.

    Gregory L. Weiss earned his PhD from Purdue University and is now Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Roanoke College. During his career, he has been an honored teacher (winning numerous college, statewide, regional [SSS], and national [ASA’s Section on Teaching and Learning] awards), a dedicated researcher and writer (author of Grass Roots Medicine and co-author of Experiencing Social Research and the ASA publication on Creating an Effective Sociology Assessment Program as well as dozens of scholarly articles), and active in the community in a variety of health-, environmental-, and animal-related organizations.

     “This new edition is a welcome arrival for all of us concerned with the issues of equality and inclusion in the field of medical sociology. It begins by providing us with a conceptual framework outlining the sociological perspective of health, healing and illness as it applies to Covid-19. Students especially appreciate the extensive coverage and inclusive language of race, socioeconomic status, gender, gender identity and sexual orientation that the authors give us throughout their examination. This new edition addresses the current challenges in the field, invoking critical analysis at every turn, while still addressing the core concerns for medical sociology.”

    Andrea Helzer, California State University, Long Beach

    “Weiss and Copelton have done an outstanding job in their careful sociological framing of health and illness. This text is especially timely in incorporating discussion of the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, this edition stands out for its in-depth focus on health care providers and medical education, examining the impacts of specialization, fragmentation, and policy changes. Readers will get a well-rounded introduction to the sociology of health and illness!”

    Carrie Lee Smith, Millersville University