Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

The Sociology of Health, Illness, and Health Care: A Critical Approach, 6th Edition

  • Rose Weitz
  • ISBN-10: 1111828792
  • ISBN-13: 9781111828790
  • 432 Pages | Hardcover
  • Previous Editions: 2010, 2004, 2001
  • COPYRIGHT: 2013 Published
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About the Product

Extremely student friendly and completely up to date, THE SOCIOLOGY OF HEALTH, ILLNESS, AND HEALTH CARE: A CRITICAL APPROACH, 6e delivers a comprehensive, cutting-edge overview that includes both micro and macro-level topics. The text exposes the ethical dilemmas of modern health care and challenges students to think analytically, while its unique critical perspective enables readers to question their previously held beliefs about health and illness. Dr. Weitz's thorough discussions of health and medicine emphasize the effects of power and how social forces create illness, affect our ideas about the meaning of illness and disability, structure health care institutions, and impact the work and social position of health care workers. The text focuses on health within the United States, but also examines global health care issues. It uses sociological perspective to thoroughly examine the social construction and cultural forces of health and illness, the social determinants and consequences of health status, and how health care systems operate in other parts of the world.


  • Helping students maximize their study time, part-opening "roadmaps" provide brief overviews to the content that follows. Chapters conclude with detailed, bulleted summaries to ensure understanding of key topics.

  • Offering relevant, cutting-edge coverage, most chapters include "Contemporary Issues" boxes that provide insightful sociological perspectives on current topics, issues, and events.

  • "Ethical Debates" throughout the text expose ethical dilemmas that pervade health care and challenge students to sharpen their critical thinking skills while defending and assessing their own positions on these critical issues.

  • Extremely reader friendly, the text highlights "Key Concepts" in boxed features, tables, and figures throughout--ensuring students visually engage with the text.

  • "Implications Essays" at the end of most chapters point students toward new issues and questions--prompting them to think more analytically.


"[This book] continues to be a comprehensive review of the health care system, especially the changes that often overwhelm and contribute to the health care crisis in the United States. The updated additions … help students become informed on relevant issues that impact their future lives and an ever-changing health status of world populations. I would highly recommend this text to anyone searching for an accessible and authoritative text on the sociology of health and illness."
— Simona Hill, Susquehanna University

About the Author

Rose Weitz

Rose Weitz received her doctoral degree from Yale University in 1978. Since then, she has carved an exceptional record as both a scholar and a teacher. She is the author of numerous scholarly articles, the book LIFE WITH AIDS (Rutgers, 1991), and the book RAPUNZEL'S DAUGHTERS: WHAT WOMEN'S HAIR TELLS US ABOUT WOMEN'S LIVES (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004). She is also co-author of LABOR PAINS: MODERN MIDWIVES AND HOME BIRTH (Yale University Press, 1988) and co-editor of THE POLITICS OF WOMEN'S BODIES: APPEARANCE, SEXUALITY, AND BEHAVIOR (published by Oxford University Press and now in its fourth edition). Professor Weitz has won two major teaching awards at Arizona State University, as well as the Pacific Sociological Associations' Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award, and has been a finalist for other teaching awards numerous times.

Table of Contents

1. The Sociology of Health, Illness, and Health Care.
2. The Social Sources of Modern Illness.
3. The Social Distribution of Illness in the United States.
4. Illness and Death in Developing Nations.
5. The Social Meanings of Illness.
6. The Experience of Disability, Chronic Pain, and Chronic Illness.
7. The Sociology of Mental Illness.
8. Health Care in the United States.
9. Health Care around the Globe.
10. Health Care Settings and Technologies.
11. The Profession of Medicine.
12. Other Mainstream and Alternative Health Care Providers.
13. Issues in Bioethics.
Subject Index.

New to this edition

  • NEW! Reflecting the latest developments from the field, the Sixth Edition of THE SOCIOLOGY OF HEALTH, ILLNESS, AND HEALTH CARE: A CRITICAL APPROACH has been thoroughly updated to include discussions of current events, emerging trends, and cutting-edge topics in health and health care. This is the most up-to-date book on the market, both in content and in reference material and statistical data. It includes new coverage of such contemporary topics as the decline in primary care, mothers who choose midwives and home births instead of hospital births, the role of doctors in military engagements overseas, and much more.
  • NEW! Chapter 8 now includes extensive coverage of the controversial 2010 U.S. health care reform and its impact.
  • NEW! Race, class, and gender issues are integrated and highlighted throughout the text.
  • NEW! Helping students understand the big picture, the discussion of the history of illness has been moved to Chapter 1, while Chapter 2 now focuses on social sources of modern disease.


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the Main title.
Please see Main title page for new to this edition information.

Instructor Supplements

Online PowerPoint®  (ISBN-10: 1133001262 | ISBN-13: 9781133001263)

Written by core text author Rose Weitz of Arizona State University, these dynamic slides help instructors quickly and easily prepare lively classroom presentations. The fully customizable slides contain outlines of chapter content, photos and figures from the book, and discussion question to fully engage students in the lecture.

Online Instructor's Manual with Test Bank  (ISBN-10: 1133001254 | ISBN-13: 9781133001256)

Written by core text author Rose Weitz of Arizona State University, these materials help instructors more quickly, easily, and effectively prepare for class with such resources as chapter summaries, suggested readings, suggested documentaries and narrative films, three to five essay questions, and 20 to 25 multiple-choice questions.

Student Supplements

Companion Web Site  (ISBN-10: 1133001270 | ISBN-13: 9781133001270)

Helping you maximize your study efforts and course success, this powerful website connects you to a wide variety of study tools, practice activities, web quizzes by chapter, and other review and test prep resources.