Applications of Social Science to Clinical Medicine and Health Policy

TitleApplications of Social Science to Clinical Medicine and Health Policy
Publication TypeWorking Paper in Published Series
Year of Publication1986
AuthorsAiken, Linda H., and David Mechanic
KeywordsHealth Policy, Medicine, Social Sciences
AbstractA collection of articles initiated by the Medical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Assoc, showing the relevance of social science contributions to the work of policymakers, & medical educators & practitioners, in V PARTS & 25 Chpts. (1) David Mechanic & Linda H. Aiken - Social Science, Medicine, and Health Policy. PART I - SOCIAL CONTEXTS OF HEALTH CARE AND HEALTH POLICY - includes (2) Renee C. Fox - Medicine, Science, and Technology - examines the social & cultural ambivalence toward biomedicine, seeing it as a metaphorical language for important cultural questions, eg, about life, death, selfhood, & meaning; (3) Diana B. Dutton - Social Class, Health, and Illness - reviews SE differences in morbidity & mortality, evaluating such possible causes as environment, stress, alienation, & inadequate medical care. Current policy trends are contrasted with a more equitable proposed alternative; (4) Eliot Freidson - The Medical Profession in Transition - treats the extensive structural, economic, & political changes the medical profession has undergone in the past two decades; (5) Rosemary Stevens - The Changing Hospital; (6) Drew E. Altman - Two Views of a Changing Health Care System; & (7) Karen Davis - Research and Policy Formulation. PART II - MAJOR MEDICAL PROBLEMS AND MONITORING HEALTH OUTCOME - contains (8) Adrian M. Ostfeld - Cardiovascular Disease; (9) James Marshall & Saxon Graham - Cancer; (10) George W. Brown - Mental Illness - focuses on research on schizophrenia & depression, to illustrate recent development & testing of psychiatric theory of etiology & course; (11) John E. Ware, Jr. - The Assessment of Health Status; & (12) Joseph P. Newhouse - Social Experiments in Health. PART III - HEALTH AND ILLNESS OVER THE LIFE CYCLE - presents (13) Catherine Kohler Riessman & Constance A. Nathanson - The Management of Reproduction: Social Construction of Risk and Responsibility - discusses demographic, technological, & social structural changes over the past 150 years that have resulted in a loss of "taken-for-granted" status for reproductive processes. Two examples of reproductive medicalization - the evocation of concepts of risk in childbirth & of responsibility in teenage pregnancy - are identified as vehicles for dealing with essentially social dilemmas; (14) Marie C. McCormick - Implications of Recent Changes in Infant Mortality; (15) Frank F. Furstenberg, Jr. & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn - Teenage Childbearing: Causes, Consequences, and Remedies - assesses new evidence on the causes & consequences of adolescent childbearing, as well as current preventive & ameliorative strategies; & (16) Carroll L. Estes & Philip R. Lee - Health Problems and Policy Issues of Old Age - examines the status of US elderly in terms of health, well-being, income, housing, health-care cost containment, as well as the financing, organization, & delivery of long-term health care services. PART IV - PREVENTION AND CARING - consists of (17) Stanislav V. Kasl - The Detection and Modification of Psychosocial and Behavioral Risk Factors; (18) James S. House & Eric M. Cottington - Health and the Workplace; (19) Leonard I. Pearlin & Carol S. Aneshensel - Coping and Social Supports: Their Functions and Applications - explicates three major approaches to coping & social support - the stress, health behavior, & illness behavior paradigms - & proposes a synthesis, the stress process paradigm; (20) Bonnie L. Svarstad - Patient-Practitioner Relationships and Compliance with Prescribed Medical Regimens; (21) Charles L. Bosk - Professional Responsibility and Medical Error - shows how social control of medical errors & professional responsibilities is being transformed into a public & collective concern. Outlined are the probable impacts of increased malpractice risk, surveillance by state medical board & third-party payers, & employment of MDs in organizational contexts in a buyer's market. PART V - ORGANIZATION AND DELIVERY OF HEALTH SERVICES - concludes with (22) William A. Glaser - Payment Systems and Their Effects; (23) Harold S. Luft - Economic Incentives and Constraints in Clinical Practice; (24) Donald W. Light - Surplus versus Cost Containment: The Changing Context for Health Providers; & (25) Bradford H. Gray & Marian Osterweis - Ethical Issues in a Social Context. 10 Tables, 8 Figures, 1739 References