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Gary L. Albrecht

In: The SAGE Handbook of Sociology

Chapter 16: The Sociology of Health and Illness

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The Sociology of Health and Illness
The sociology of health and illness

Heath is a metaphor for well-being. To be healthy means to be of sound mind and body; to be integrated; to be whole. Over time and across societies, influential theorists have emphasized that health consists of balance, of being centered (Antonovsky, 1979). The concept of health can be applied to human parts, as when we say, ‘Your mother has a healthy heart’ or Your father has a healthy psyche' (Ferreira et al., 2001). More generally, health refers to a holistic notion of individual well-being (Goldstein, 2000; Roose et al, 2001). We indicate this by relating that ‘Samantha is a “healthy” person’ or ‘She is in good health’. By extension, the concept of health is ...

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