Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions

2013 Edition
| Editors: Anne L. C. Runehov, Lluis Oviedo

Medical Sociology

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8265-8_674


Medical sociology is one of the significant subdisciplines of general sociology. As a core social science sociology is concerned with the analysis of general principles and culturally varying processes of developing societal structures, institutions, and patterns of relationships among humans. Medical sociology (more recently often termed “health sociology”) applies the theories and methods of general sociology to the analysis of two main areas of inquiry: first, the social determinants of human health and health-related behavior, and second, the social organization of health care, health professions, and their interaction with patients. The former area is termed “sociology in medicine,” due to its problem-oriented approach that integrates sociological and biomedical knowledge, whereas the latter area is termed “sociology ofmedicine” as it analyzes the health care system from a more distant perspective as part of a broader social system. Medical sociology evolved from...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Albrecht, G. L., Fitzpatrick, R., & Scrimshaw, S. C. (2000). The handbook of social studies in health and medicine. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  2. Berkman, L., & Kawachi, I. (2000). Social epidemiology. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Cockerham, W. C. (Ed.). (2001). The Blackwell companion to medical sociology. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  4. Siegrist, J., & Marmot, M. (2006). Social inequalities in health: New evidence and policy implications. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Heinrich Heine-Universität DüsseldorfSenior Professorship Workstress Research Life Science CenterDüsseldorfGermany