The Social Causes of Health and Disease
The Social Causes of Health and Disease, 3rd Edition

This stimulating book has become a go-to text for understanding the role that social factors play in the experience of health and many diseases. This extensively revised and updated third edition offers the most compelling case yet that stress, poverty, unhealthy lifestyles, and unpleasant living and working conditions can all be directly associated with illness.

The book continues to build on the paradigm shift that has been emerging in twenty-first-century medical sociology, which looks beyond individual explanations for health and disease. As the field has headed toward a fundamentally different orientation, William Cockerham’s work has been at the forefront of these changes, and he here marshals evidence and theory for those seeking a clear and authoritative guide to the realities of the social determinants of health. Of particular note in the latest edition is new material on the relationship between gender and health, implications of the life course for health behavior,  the health effects of social capital, and the emergence of COVID-19.

This engaging introduction to social epidemiology 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.

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  • January 2021
  • 264 pages
  • 152 x 229 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $69.95
  • 9781509540358
  • Paperback $24.95
  • 9781509540365
  • Open eBook $20.00
  • 9781509540372
About the Author
William C. Cockerham is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Chair Emeritus at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Research Scholar of Sociology at the College of William & Mary in Virginia.
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“The third edition of Cockerham's classic text on the social causes of health and illness is most welcome. Notable features of this masterful and comprehensive contribution are the coverage of theory as well as research, its international reach, and its erudition. This will be an indispensable volume for teachers, students, and practitioners alike.”
Graham Scambler, University College London and Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences

“As in the previous editions, Cockerham presents us with a powerful understanding of the social determinants of health. This time, he updates his perspective, weaving in novel dynamic dimensions from life course research and important structural elements from social capital.”
Bernice A. Pescosolido, Indiana University

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