American Sociological Association

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  1. The Struggle to Save Abortion Care

    by Carole Joffe, Summer 2018 Contexts

  2. Beyond Health Effects? Examining the Social Consequences of Community Levels of Uninsurance Pre-ACA

    The lack of health insurance is traditionally considered a problem faced by individuals and their families. However, because of the geographically bounded organization and funding of healthcare in the United States, levels of uninsurance in a community may affect everyone living there. Health economists have examined how the effects of uninsurance spillover from the uninsured to the insured, negatively affecting healthcare access and quality for the insured.
  3. Social Networks and Health in a Prison Unit

    Although a growing body of research documents lasting health consequences of incarceration, little is known about how confinement affects inmates’ health while incarcerated. In this study, we examine the role of peer social integration and prisoners’ self-reported health behaviors (smoking, exercise, perception of health, and depression) in a prison unit. We also consider whether inmates with similar health characteristics cluster within the unit.
  4. The Social Construction of Illness: Key Insights and Policy Implications

    The social construction of illness is a major research perspective in medical sociology. This article traces the roots of this perspective and presents three overarching constructionist findings. First, some illnesses are particularly embedded with cultural meaning—which is not directly derived from the nature of the condition—that shapes how society responds to those afflicted and influences the experience of that illness. Second, all illnesses are socially constructed at the experiential level, based on how individuals come to understand and live with their illness.

  5. Union, Premium Cost, and the Provision of Employment-based Health Insurance

    The decline of employment-based health plans is commonly attributed to rising premium costs. Using restricted data and a matched sample from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey–Insurance Component, the authors extend previous studies by testing the relationships among premium costs, employment relationships, and the provision of health benefits between 1999 and 2012. The authors report that both establishment- and state-level union densities are associated with a higher likelihood of employers’ providing health plans, whereas right-to-work legislation is associated with lower provision.
  6. The Institutional Determinants of Health Insurance: Moving Away from Labor Market, Marriage, and Family Attachments under the ACA

    For more than a century, the American welfare state required working-age adults to obtain social welfare benefits through their linkages to employers, spouses, or children. Recent changes to U.S. healthcare policy prompted by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), however, provide adults with new pathways for accessing a key form of social welfare—health insurance—decoupled from employers, spouses, and children.
  7. Does Patient-centered Care Change Genital Surgery Decisions? The Strategic Use of Clinical Uncertainty in Disorders of Sex Development Clinics

    Genital surgery in children with ambiguous or atypical genitalia has been marred by controversies about the appropriateness and timing of surgery, generating clinical uncertainty about decision making. Since 2006, medical experts and patient advocates have argued for putting the child’s needs central as patient-centered care. Based on audio recordings of 31 parent–clinician interactions in three clinics of disorders of sex development, we analyze how parents and clinicians decide on genital surgery. We find that clinicians and parents aim for parent-centered rather than infant-centered care.
  8. Income Inequality and Population Health: A Global Gradient?

    Cross-national empirical research about the link between income inequality and population health produces conflicting conclusions. We address these mixed findings by examining the degree to which the income inequality and health relationship varies with economic development. We estimate fixed-effects models with different measures of income inequality and population health. Results suggest that development moderates the association between inequality and two measures of population health. Our findings produce two generalizations.
  9. Healthcare Work in Marriage: How Gay, Lesbian, and Heterosexual Spouses Encourage and Coerce Medical Care

    Marriage benefits health in part because spouses promote one another’s well-being, yet how spouses facilitate formal healthcare (e.g., doctor’s visits, emergency care) via what we call healthcare work is unknown. Moreover, like other aspects of the marital-health link, healthcare work dynamics likely vary by gender and couple type. To explore this possibility, we use in-depth interviews with 90 midlife gay, lesbian, and heterosexual spouses to examine how spouses perform healthcare work.
  10. Like a Fish out of Water: Managing Chronic Pain in the Urban Safety Net

    The subjective nature of pain has always rendered it a point of entry for power and corresponding stratifying processes within biomedicine. The opioid crisis has further exacerbated these challenges by increasing the stakes of prescribing decisions for providers, which in turn has resulted in greater treatment disparities.