Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

Understanding Social Problems, 5th Edition

  • M. Morgan Holmes
  • Linda A. Mooney
  • David Knox
  • Caroline Schacht
  • ISBN-10: 0176675248
  • ISBN-13: 9780176675240
  • 0 Pages | Paperback
  • Previous Editions: 2012, 2008, 2004
  • COPYRIGHT: 2016 Published
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About the Product

Written from a distinctly Canadian point of view, Understanding Social Problems, Fifth Canadian Edition, examines how the structure and culture of societies contribute to social problems and their consequences. The text includes researched pedagogical features that ensure that readers elevate their thinking about the topic of social problems in Canada and around the globe. This Fifth edition is comprehensive in its coverage, progressing from micro to macro levels of analysis. It focuses first on problems of health care, drug use, and crime--and then broadens to the widening concerns of population, health and welfare, science and technology, large-scale inequality, and environmental problems. Known for its inclusive approach, Understanding Social Problems, Fifth Canadian Edition, explores powerful stories of real-life people struggling with the challenges society and its problems have thrust upon them.


  • The three major sociological approaches—structural-functionalism, symbolic interactionism, and conflict theory—are introduced in the first chapter and discussed and applied, where appropriate, to various social problems throughout the text.

  • The inclusion of global perspectives on social problems will also help students to situate their understandings to contexts broader than the confines of their own local experiences.

  • The text emphasizes how the social structure and culture of society contribute to and maintain social problems, as well as provide the basis for alternative solutions.

  • The order of the 14 chapters reflects a progression from micro to macro levels of analysis, focusing first on problems of health care, drug use, and crime--and then broadening to the widening concerns of population health and welfare, science and technology, large-scale inequality, and environmental problems.

  • CourseMate provides instructors with all of the reporting tools needed to track student engagement, while students can access an interactive e-book and study tools in a dynamic, online learning environment.


I cannot see any other book company coming along with something any better than this text book. Excellent for college-level students. Just the right amount of theoretical content. Excellent supplements.
— Thomas Groulx, St. Clair College

About the Author

M. Morgan Holmes

M. Morgan Holmes is a Professor in the department of Sociology and Anthropology at Wilfrid Laurier University. She received her Ph.D from Concordia in 2000. She teaches Critical Issues in Sociology at WLU every year. Her research is in the area of sex and gender. Morgan is an articulate and passionate teacher who shaved her head in front of the class to make a point about transgression.

Linda A. Mooney

Linda A. Mooney, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Sociology at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. In addition to social problems, her specialties include law, criminology, and juvenile delinquency. She has published over thirty professional articles in such journals as Social Forces, Sociological Inquiry, Sex Roles, Sociological Quarterly, and Teaching Sociology. She has won numerous teaching awards, including the University of North Carolina, Board of Governor's Distinguished Professor for Teaching Award.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Thinking about Social Problems
Chapter 2: Illness and Health Care
Chapter 3: Alcohol and Other Drugs
Chapter 4: Crime and Violence
Chapter 5: Family Problems
Chapter 6: Youth and Aging
Chapter 7: Gender Inequality
Chapter 8: Critical Studies in Race and Ethnicity
Chapter 9: Sexualities
Chapter 10: Poverty: National and International Issues
Chapter 11: Work and Unemployment
Chapter 12: Problems in Education
Chapter 13: Environmental Problems
Chapter 14: Armed Conflict in Global Perspective

New to this edition

  • Action-oriented learning outcomes based on the revised Bloom’s taxonomy begin each chapter to help guide readers.
  • ‘What do you already know?’ feature acknowledges the levels of preparation and awareness that students bring to the table, but also allows them an opportunity to reflect on shifts in their thinking resulting from exposure to new information.
  • Each chapter ends with ‘What do you know now?’ – critically-reflective, developmental questions that encourage students to reflect on their achievement of learning outcomes.
  • New sustained discussions of Aboriginal health in Canada and of changes to current health care delivery and management affecting how Canadians access health care.
  • The text’s interior design has been thoroughly updated for this edition, including an engaging four-colour program.


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 Only Instructor's Resources to accompany Understanding Social Problems, 5ce  (ISBN-10: 0176596461 | ISBN-13: 9780176596460)