Social Factors

Sociologists bring a perspective and unique methods that broaden our understanding of clinical decision making and complement the valuable work of other disciplines. This entry briefly discusses four propositions that are designed to improve our understanding of clinical decision making and increase the relevance of decision making studies for social policies intended to improve public health.

Macro Determinants of Clinical Decision Making

Sociologist Talcott Parsons provided a theoretical perspective on the doctor-patient relationship (D-P relationship), reflecting the situation in the United States around the middle of the 20th century; his view dominated thinking in health services research for the remainder of the century. The Parsonian view of the D-P relationship is depicted in Figure 1, and several features should be highlighted:

  • The spotlight of analysis was generally on ...
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