This timely and assured text provides lecturers and students with a well informed, penetrating analysis of the key questions in medicine and society. The book is divided into three sections. It opens with a well judged account of the context of health and illness. It moves on to examine the process and experience of illness. Finally, it examines how health care is negotiated and delivered.

The Social Causes of Disease

The social causes of disease

Chapter Summary

This chapter describes:

  • how the chances of premature mortality are not randomly distributed throughout the population;
  • how the positive association between poor living conditions and poor health has been documented since the nineteenth century;
  • how reports in the twentieth century confirmed that more favourable rates of morbidity and mortality continue to be associated with higher socio-economic class;
  • how explanations for the causes of health inequalities, supported by research findings, include behavioural and cultural influences and materialist or structural effects, as well as relative poverty having an effect via psycho-social pathways;
  • how health inequalities by ethnic group and gender are partially explicable in terms of material deprivation, but effects on health across the life course also ...
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