• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This is the first international and inter-disciplinary social science Handbook on health and medicine. Five years in the making, and building on the insights and advice of an international editorial board, the book brings together world-class figures to provide an indispensable, comprehensive resource book on social science, health and medicine. Pinpointing the focal issues of research and debate in one volume, the material is organized into three sections: social and cultural frameworks of analysis; the experience of health and illness; and health care systems and practices. Each section consists of specially commissioned chapters designed to examine the vital conceptual and methodological practice and policy issues.

Health-Care Utilization and Barriers to Health Care
Health-care utilization and barriers to health care

Attributes of both individuals and societies contribute to the health of populations. Among these, the relative contribution of health-care services provided by trained professionals and aimed at preventing or curing disease is viewed by some as inflated. Rene Dubos observed 40 years ago that:

The greatest strides in health improvement have been achieved in the field of diseases that responded to social and economic reforms after industrialization. (Dubos 1959: 139)

More recently, Evans and Stoddart have argued that ‘the factors which affect health … go well beyond health care per se.’ (1990: 1350).

While the prominence of health-care services as a feature in the broader landscape of population health is subject to debate, there is ...

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