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Sociology of Health & Illness

Nadina R Luca, Sally Hibbert, Ruth McDonald
This research examines how midstream social marketing programmes that adopt a relational and community-based approach create opportunities for individuals to make incremental changes to health behaviour. Specifically, it applies Bourdieusian theory to explore how interactions between community healthcare workers (CHWs) and members of the public generate impetus for change and foster individual agency for improved health. Qualitative interviews were carried out with members of the public and CHWs engaged in a Smokefree home and cars initiative...
May 16, 2019: Sociology of Health & Illness
Lorelei Jones, Alec Fraser, Ellen Stewart
Forms of large-scale change, such as the regiona l re-distribution of clinical services, are an enduring reform orthodoxy in health systems of high-income countries. The topic is of relevance and importance to medical sociology because of the way that large-scale change significantly disrupts and transforms therapeutic landscapes, relationships and practices. In this paper we review the literature on large-scale change. We find that the literature is dominated by competing forms of knowledge, such as health services research, and show how sociology can contribute new and critical perspectives and insights on what is for many people a troubling issue...
May 16, 2019: Sociology of Health & Illness
Andrea Laurent-Simpson, Celia C Lo
While social construction of illness research has examined the redefinition of medically defined illness as non-illness by laypersons, nothing has considered this process alongside emerging infectious diseases (EIDs). Using Gidden's notion of modern risk society and distrust in expert authority, this paper examines how social media posts construct Zika virus as nonhazardous while displaying a distrust in research and prevention. Using qualitative content analysis, we examine 801 posts on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Facebook page to highlight the interplay between risk, the social construction of Zika and trust in experts...
April 25, 2019: Sociology of Health & Illness
Kirstine Z Pedersen, Anne Roelsgaard Obling
This paper investigates the comprehensive compassionate care reform programme within the National Health Service (NHS) in England. Through a synoptic reading of policy documents, we show how 'compassion' is introduced as an overarching meta-virtue designed to govern all forms of relationships and formal positions in health care. Invoking an 'ethics of office' perspective, mainly drawing on the thinking of Max Weber, we evaluate the promotion of compassion as a managerial technology and argue how seemingly humanistic and value-based approaches to healthcare management might have unintended consequences for the quality of care and the conduct of health professionals that in some ways resemble and in some ways exceed those of the more traditional New Public Management measures, which the new compassion paradigm is expected to outdo...
April 24, 2019: Sociology of Health & Illness
Malene N Bødker, Ulla Christensen, Henriette Langstrup
The threat to welfare societies posed by population ageing has urged high-income countries to rethink the provision of social and healthcare services for the ageing population. One widely implemented policy solution is 'reablement': short-term home-based training programmes focusing on re-enabling older people to carry out activities of daily living independently. Drawing on empirical material from multisited ethnographic fieldwork of reablement practices in a Danish municipality we explore how the assumptions about independence embedded in the concept's linguistic parts - 're', 'able' and 'ment' - map onto lives characterised by functional decline...
April 24, 2019: Sociology of Health & Illness
Eivor Oborn, Michael Barrett, Sarah Gibson, Steve Gillard
Our research examines how different forms of knowledge and expertise are increasingly important in caring for people experiencing mental illness. We build on theoretical developments regarding multiple ontologies of knowing about illness. We examine how experiential knowledge of mental health problems, learned by being subject to illness rather than through objective study, is enacted in mental healthcare teams. We focus on Peer Workers (PW), individuals who have lived experience of mental health problems, and who contribute knowledge and expertise to mental health care within multidisciplinary healthcare teams...
April 23, 2019: Sociology of Health & Illness
Mhairi Mackenzie, Maria Gannon, Nicky Stanley, Katie Cosgrove, Gene Feder
A reticence on the part of women to disclose domestic abuse (DA) to family doctors, allied to front-line responses that do not always reflect an understanding of the structure and dynamics of DA, hampers the provision of professional support. Using data from 20 qualitative interviews with women who have experienced DA, this paper explores their discourse about interacting with family doctors. It is the first study to explore firsthand accounts of these interactions through Dixon Woods' lens of candidacy. It finds disclosure to be inherently dynamic as a process and expands the candidacy lens by considering the: (i) conflicting candidacies of victims and perpetrators; (ii) diversionary disclosure tactics deployed by perpetrators and, (iii) the potential role of General Practitioner (GPs) in imagining candidacies from a structural perspective...
April 18, 2019: Sociology of Health & Illness
Yiannis Kyratsis, Raheelah Ahmad, Michiyo Iwami, Enrique Castro-Sánchez, Rifat Atun, Alison H Holmes
Despite committed policy, regulative and professional efforts on healthcare safety, little is known about how such macro-interventions permeate organisations and shape culture over time. Informed by neo-institutional theory, we examined how inter-organisational influences shaped safety practices and inter-subjective meanings following efforts for coerced culture change. We traced macro-influences from 2000 to 2015 in infection prevention and control (IPC). Safety perceptions and meanings were inductively analysed from 130 in-depth qualitative interviews with senior- and middle-level managers from 30 English hospitals...
April 11, 2019: Sociology of Health & Illness
Patrick Peretti-Watel, Jeremy K Ward, Chantal Vergelys, Aurélie Bocquier, Jocelyn Raude, Pierre Verger
During the last decade, public health research has emphasised the growing public disaffection with vaccination. This contemporary vaccine hesitation (VH) refers to a delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines, as well as agreement despite doubt and reluctance. We investigated VH among French parents of young children, with an emphasis on two key features of VH: trust towards physicians and commitment to vaccination issues. We targeted two populations with contrasting socioeconomic profiles, using in-depth interviews (n = 25)...
April 11, 2019: Sociology of Health & Illness
Tom Sanders, Jackie Elliott, Paul Norman, Barbara Johnson, Simon Heller
We utilise Bury's (1982) biographical disruption to examine young people's experiences of type 1 diabetes. Our findings show that young adults adopted various 'subject positions' across different illness contexts. The subject positions deployed are intended to produce a particular kind of normal embodied identity unaffected by diabetes. First, participants concealed their illness in public spaces and challenged cultural stereotypes of diabetes to maintain a normal illness biography. Disruption was ever present and required careful negotiation to avoid exposure of illness in public...
April 9, 2019: Sociology of Health & Illness
Ellen Stewart
The "problem" of public resistance to hospital closure is a recurring trope in health policy debates around the world. Recent papers have argued that when it comes to major change to hospitals, "the public" cannot be persuaded by clinical evidence, and that mechanisms of public involvement are ill-equipped to reconcile opposition with management desire for radical change. This paper presents data from in-depth qualitative case studies of three hospital change processes in Scotland's National Health Service, including interviews with 44 members of the public...
April 8, 2019: Sociology of Health & Illness
Cindy L Cain, Sara McCleskey
The range of end-of-life options is expanding across North America. Specifically, medical aid in dying (AID), or the process by which a patient with a terminal illness may request medical assistance with hastening death, has recently become legal in eight jurisdictions in the United States and all of Canada. Debates about AID often rely on cultural constructions that define some deaths as 'good' and others as 'bad'. While research has found commonalities in how patients, family members and health care providers define good and bad deaths, these constructions likely vary across social groups...
April 4, 2019: Sociology of Health & Illness
Mikko J Virtanen
This article focuses on two different ways of framing and taming the uncertainties of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in the context of the Finnish welfare state: the bio-medical rationale of population-level cancer reduction based on epidemiological assessments, and the meaning formation of Finnish vaccination-aged girls. Epidemiologists run analyses estimating the cost-effectiveness and public health benefit of vaccinations, while the adolescent girls face the burdensome choice of whether to undergo vaccination...
April 3, 2019: Sociology of Health & Illness
Deeni R Idris, Simon Forrest, Sally Brown
Using data collected through semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions with 37 adult men living in Brunei Darussalam, this paper explores how masculinities and expectations about male roles across the life course influence men's perceptions, of and attitudes towards health and health help-seeking behaviour. Bruneian men gave accounts that consistently spoke of a series of masculine roles and associated attributes and behaviours, which mapped across the life course. Men described health and the steps that they had taken to protect their health in terms of responsibilities associated with being a breadwinner, provider of support for parents, role model and leader of the family...
March 25, 2019: Sociology of Health & Illness
Mark Exworthy, Jonathan Gabe, Ian R Jones, Glenn Smith
Professional autonomy has come under greater scrutiny due to managerialism, consumerism, information and communication technologies (ICT), and the changing composition of professions themselves. This scrutiny is often portrayed as a tension between professional and managerial logics. Recently, medical autonomy has increasingly been shaped in terms of transparency, where publication of clinical performance (via ICT) might be a more pervasive form of surveillance. Such transparency may have the potential for a more explicit managerial logic but is contested by clinicians...
March 15, 2019: Sociology of Health & Illness
Katelin Albert
With the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine positioned as the "right tool" to protect girls' health and sexual health, public discourse positions parents as "responsible" if they vaccinate, "irresponsible" if they do not. The problem with this binary, however, is that it cannot account for the full spectrum of responsibilities and social norms that parents enact in vaccine decisions. In this paper, and in the context of low HPV vaccination rates, I confront this binary and encourage a fuller view of adolescent health and sexual health...
March 15, 2019: Sociology of Health & Illness
Stephen Timmons, Paraskevas Vezyridis, Opinder Sahota
This paper analyses the 'failure' of a patient safety intervention. Our study was part of a randomised controlled trial (RCT) of bed and bedside chair pressure sensors linked to radio pagers to prevent bedside falls in older people admitted to hospital. We use agential realism within science and technology studies to examine the fall and its prevention as a situated phenomenon of knowledge that is made and unmade through intra-actions between environment, culture, humans and technologies. We show that neither the intervention (the pressure sensor system), nor the outcome (fall prevention) could be disentangled from the broader sociomaterial context of the ward, the patients, the nurses and (especially) their work through the RCT...
March 15, 2019: Sociology of Health & Illness
Debra Gimlin, Alan Buckingham
In this article, we examine the social management of fatness via an analysis of 4 years of participant-observation in military-style fitness boot camps and interviews with camp participants, trainers and organisers/owners. We begin by focusing on popular imagery of the 'boot camp'. The boot camp model takes various forms; yet, whether it involves civilian participants, as on reality television shows, or the imagined military ones of films, the boot camp model emphasises the re-fashioning of the individual via the disciplining of bodies and selves...
March 7, 2019: Sociology of Health & Illness
Carla F Rodrigues, Noémia Lopes, Anita Hardon
With an increasing range of products in global and local markets, more options are available for individuals to enhance their image and their (cognitive, social and physical) performance. These 'performance consumptions' relate to ideals of well-being and improvement, and are based on constructed desires, expectations and needs that go beyond the (often blurred) dichotomy of health and illness. Drawing from mixed-methods research in Maputo, Mozambique, this paper discusses individuals' use of medicines and other substances - pharmaceuticals, food supplements, traditional herbs, cosmetics and energy drinks - for managing different aspects of their everyday lives...
March 7, 2019: Sociology of Health & Illness
Mark Gaspar, Zack Marshall, Ricky Rodrigues, Barry D Adam, David J Brennan, Trevor A Hart, Daniel Grace
There is mounting urgency regarding the mental health of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBM). We examined how GBM are understanding the relationship between HIV and their mental health given the increasing biomedicalisation of HIV prevention and care. Our Grounded Theory analysis derived from qualitative interviews with 24 GBM living in Toronto, Canada, including both HIV-negative and HIV-positive men. Participants understood biomedical advances, such as undetectable viral load and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), as providing some relief from HIV-related distress...
March 5, 2019: Sociology of Health & Illness
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