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Sociology of Health & Illness

Jennifer Emily Kettle, Lorna Warren, Peter Glenn Robinson, Angus Walls, Barry John Gibson
While previous sociological research on oral health has identified the relevance of personal relationships, there is more scope to analyse the mouth through a lens of connectedness. Recent qualitative interviews with 43 older people (65+) in England and Scotland found that participants constructed relational narratives to make sense of their oral health practices. By drawing on ideas of family practices, family display and personal life, we illustrate how the mouth can be understood relationally. Participants presented their own embodied experiences as connected to the actions of their parents...
December 23, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Lesley McMillan, Deborah White
A key dimension of the institutional response to sexual assault is the forensic medical examination of a victim's body conducted for purpose of documenting, collecting and testifying to corroborative evidence. Drawing upon in-depth interviews with forensic examiners and forensic nurse practitioners in one region of England, this study addresses a gap in the existing research on medico-legal processes, and critically examines the nature and dynamics of the relationship between doctors and nurses involved in this intervention...
December 18, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Gabor Scheiring, Darja Irdam, Lawrence P King
An unprecedented mortality crisis befell the former socialist countries between 1989 and 1995, representing one of the greatest demographic shocks of the period after the Second World War. While it is likely that country-level variation in the post-socialist mortality crisis in Eastern Europe can be explained by a constellation of political and socio-economic factors, no comprehensive review of the existing scholarly attempts at explaining these factors exists. We review 39 cross-national multi-variable peer reviewed studies of social determinants of mortality in post-socialist Europe in order to assess the social factors behind the post-socialist mortality crisis, determine the gaps in the existing literature and to make suggestions for future research...
December 14, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Adam Taylor Smith, Alex Dumas
Men in economically advanced societies are more at-risk of dying prematurely due to heart disease than women, and this risk is inversely related to their socioeconomic status (SES). While the strong influence of socioeconomic factors on self-management of chronic diseases is important, the impact of masculinity must also be considered. This study examines the social variation in preventive health lifestyles of men from two contrasting socioeconomic groups who have suffered from a cardiovascular incident requiring hospitalization...
December 4, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Austin H Johnson
This article uses ethnographic methods to explore how transgender people engage the medicalisation of transgender experience in a U.S. context under the purview of the American Psychiatric Association. Building on sociological literature related to medicalisation, this paper argues that the lived experience of medicalisation is a non-linear, complex process whereby individual engagement with medical authority is both empowering and constraining in the lives of trans people. Inductive qualitative analysis of 158 hours of participant observation and 33 in-depth interviews with members of a transgender community organisation revealed that transgender individuals (i) reject a medical frame for gender dysphoria, (ii) embrace and stress the importance of gender-affirming medical technologies for individual identity development and social interaction and (iii) strategically reintroduce medical logics and embrace medical authority in order to facilitate medical and social recognition, validation and acceptance...
November 28, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Zoë C Meleo-Erwin
This article traces the post-surgical relationship between weight-loss surgery (WLS) patients and their home bariatric clinics. Following surgery, there is substantive drop off in patient attendance at both follow-up appointments and support groups. While barriers to follow-up are often discussed with the bariatric literature, patients themselves are typically defined as the problem. Based upon a thematic analysis of 217 blog posts and comments in two top patient-led online forums, I demonstrate that bariatric patients tell a more complex story about their post-surgical lives...
November 25, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Julie Bønnelycke, Catharina Thiel Sandholdt, Astrid Pernille Jespersen
In this article, we situate the practices of health and physical activity in household collectives, and conceptualise everyday health 'behaviour' and lifestyle as complex, collective practices. Based on an ethnographic study on everyday family life and health practices, we provide a framework for understanding the household as a collective, where the household collective may take precedence over individual preferences, and individual behaviour has collective implications. We describe the household as a node for practices, gathered by the activities that draw together and align actors in collective practices of everyday life...
November 20, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Miriam Wiersma, Narcyz Ghinea, Ian Kerridge, Wendy Lipworth
The prescribing of high-cost cancer medicines at the end of life has become a focus of criticism, due primarily to concerns about the safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness of these medicines in this clinical context. In response to these concerns, a number of interventions have been proposed - frequently focused on improving physician-patient communication at the end of life. Underpinning these strategies is the assumption that the prescribing of high-cost cancer medicines at the end of life is primarily the result of poor communication on the part of cancer physicians...
November 20, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Elizabeth Dzeng
The focus on patient autonomy in American and increasingly British medicine highlights the importance of choice. However, to truly honour patient autonomy, there must be both understanding and non-control. Fifty-eight semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with internal medicine physicians at three hospitals in the US and one in the UK. At hospitals where autonomy was prioritised, trainees equated autonomy with giving a menu of choices and felt uncomfortable giving a recommendation based on clinical knowledge as they worried that that would infringe upon patient autonomy...
November 20, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Gabriel Girard, San Patten, Marc-André LeBlanc, Barry D Adam, Edward Jackson
The advancements of "treatment as prevention" (TasP), "undetectable viral load" (UVL) and "pre-exposure prophylaxis" (PrEP) are redefining HIV prevention standards. Relying on the concept of biosociality, this article explores how gay men rally around, debate, and sometimes disagree about these emerging HIV prevention technologies. This article is based on data from the Resonance Project, a Canadian community-based research project. Twelve focus groups (totalling 86 gay and bisexual men) were held in three Canadian cities (Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver) in 2013-2014...
November 18, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Sally Shortall, Annie McKee, Lee-Ann Sutherland
In the western world, farming is the most dangerous occupation with the highest rates of accidents and fatalities. Farming remains largely a family business and most accidents happen to family members. Why do safety campaigns have such limited success and why do farm families bring this terrible grief on themselves? This article argues that farm accidents are a persistent social pattern requiring analysis of how families are socialised to interact with the farming space. Based on qualitative data gathered for a Scottish study, it is argued that within farm families there is a socialisation and normalisation of danger...
November 18, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Mabel Lie, Ruth Graham, Stephen C Robson, Paul D Griffiths
The MERIDIAN study examined whether in-utero MRI (iuMRI) improves the accuracy of diagnosis of foetal brain abnormalities, when used as an adjunct to ultrasound anomaly scanning. A diagnostic iuMRI differs from routine ultrasound screening because of its infrequent use and scanning procedure. Nested within this trial, this sociological study explored the acceptability of iuMRI as a technology and its contribution to parental decision-making. Our sociological interpretation of the role of iuMR images in prenatal diagnosis draws on narrative interviews with women (and some partners) who underwent MRI imaging at three different centres...
November 18, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Michael Morrison
This paper proposes a 'valuographic' approach to diagnosis, exploring how values and valuation practices are implicated in the contested diagnostic category of idiopathic short stature (ISS). ISS describes children who are 'abnormally' short but do not have any other detectable pathology. In the USA growth-promoting hormone therapy has been approved for ISS children, since 2003. However, no other jurisdiction has approved this treatment and the value of ISS as a diagnostic category remains disputed among healthcare professionals...
November 16, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
(no author information available yet)
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
January 2019: Sociology of Health & Illness
(no author information available yet)
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
November 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Thomas E Shriver, Aysha Bodenhamer
Over the past twenty years there has been a deadly resurgence of coal workers' pneumoconiosis (CWP), commonly known as black lung disease. While increased prevalence of the disease is alarming, these data only capture cases where CWP has been officially recognised. We argue that many more cases of the disease are going unreported. Drawing from contested environmental illness literature, we examine issues surrounding diagnostic uncertainty and medical surveillance. We draw from qualitative data on black lung that includes in-depth interviews, observation and document analysis...
November 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Larissa Pfaller, Solveig L Hansen, Frank Adloff, Silke Schicktanz
In Germany, as well as in other countries, organ shortages are usually explained by a relative unwillingness to donate among a population which is assumed to be caused by a lack of information and mistrust of the system. As we can see in the data of our qualitative research (focus groups and interviews), lack of information or mistrust are not the only reasons for people to be reluctant to agree to the donation of their organs after death. In fact we can identify four positions: (1) information deficit; (2) mistrust; (3) no killing; and (4) bodily integrity...
November 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Michelle Webster
Uncertainty has been highlighted as an important aspect of experiences of chronic conditions generally and epilepsy in particular. However, there is little research exploring the extent to which uncertainty features in the experiences of family members or the form that this uncertainty may take. Drawing on in-depth semi-structured interviews with 27 parents who had a child with epilepsy, this article explores parents' experiences of uncertainty and the way in which their views on childhood and epilepsy interacted and contributed to the uncertainties they experienced...
October 23, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Jennifer Lea
Bodywork - as work which takes the body as its immediate site of labour - includes forms of service work, healthcare and caring. While work on bodywork has undeniably foregrounded the body, at the same time it has worked with a relatively limited understanding of bodily knowledges and practices. This article uses a theoretical framework taken from writing on Non-Representational Theory, by Human Geographers, in order to take seriously 'alternative' body knowledge such as energy. The article draws on data from in-depth interviews conducted with therapeutic massage practitioners in order to take seriously the ways in which energy directs and shapes the work that these bodyworkers do, adding new empirical understandings of what working with energy entails...
October 22, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Catherine Coveney, Simon J Williams, Jonathan Gabe
In this paper we examine the medical management of sleeplessness as 'insomnia', through the eyes of general practitioners (GPs) and sleep experts in Britain. Three key themes were evident in the data. These related to (i) institutional issues around advocacy and training in sleep medicine (ii) conceptual issues in the diagnosis of insomnia (iii) and how these played out in terms of treatment issues. As a result, the bulk of medical management occurred at the primary rather than secondary care level. These issues are then reflected on in terms of the light they shed on relations between the medicalisation and the pharmaceuticalisation of sleeplessness as insomnia...
September 21, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
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