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The Social Psychology of Health

The Social Psychology of Health
Essays and Readings

Edited by:

February 2004 | 368 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
"The volume includes classic readings as well as more up-to-date selections, and most are engaging, interesting, and easy to read. . . . The volume editors do a wonderful job of explaining concepts in easy-to-understand language and provide useful examples that students should be able to relate to. Undergraduates should find this a fun and relevant book to read, and the essays should provide a good starting point for class discussions. . . . One strength of the book is the breadth. The volume editors obviously have extensive knowledge and different perspectives to bring to this area."

                                                        —Erika Westling, University of California, Los Angeles
"The content of the individual essays and the introductions to the articles are thorough and very readable. Students will find them to be helpful orientations to the articles they are about to read. . . . The strength of this volume is the product of the disciplinary backgrounds of the authors. They have done a good job of actually drawing together into one volume significant articles from psychology, sociology, and to some extent, epidemiology and public health. This increases the range of the book. Most importantly from an educational standpoint, it supports an interdisciplinary approach to the social psychology of health."

                                                                          —Dale D. Chitwood, University of Miami
The Social Psychology of Health: Essays and Readings provides an integrative approach to understanding health psychology using social psychological principles. It contains 26 readings grouped into five sections. The first section includes an overview of the multiple disciplines and perspectives that contribute to theory and research in health psychology and behavioral medicine: psychology, sociology, epidemiology, and public health. The remaining four sections cover major topics within the field of health psychology, mirroring the major topical coverage of most introductory health psychology textbooks. This coverage ranges from health attitude change to the health-care setting, stress and coping and social relationships, and health policy.

The key feature of the book is its text/reader format. Editors William D. Marelich and Jeff S. Erger introduce each section with a jargon-free lead-in essay designed to engage readers with explanatory narratives about each topic. Each section then moves to a selection of classic readings that introduce students to some of the best original research in the words of the researchers themselves. These readings include both empirical and theoretical articles from psychology-related journals, featuring a mix of qualitative and quantitative studies. The Social Psychology of Health also features a range of readings emphasizing the breadth of this multidisciplinary field, with contributions from social psychologists, sociologists, epidemiologists, and public health professionals. These entries expose students to areas seldom addressed in typical health psychology texts, such as epidemiology. This engaging design brings unity to the volume and provides an easily accessible context for student readers.

Marelich and Erger have produced an excellent resource for graduate and undergraduate Health Psychology and Medical Sociology courses, and courses addressing social influences on health in departments of Nursing, Public Health, Epidemiology, and Medicine.

Essay I-1: Introduction to The Social Psychology of Health
Essay I-2: Health & Illness Seen Through Different Lenses
Overviews from Various Fields
1. Taylor, S.E. (1990). Health Psychology: The science & the field.

2. Brown, P. (1991). Themes in medical sociology

3. Mullan, F. (2000). Don Quixote, Machiavelli, & Robin Hood: Public health practice, past & present

4. MacDonald, K.L., et al. (1985). Type A botulism from sautéed onions: Clinical & epidemiologic observations.

Cause-Effect & Health Status
5. Engel, G.L. (1977). The need for a new medical model: A challenge for biomedicine.

6. Conrad, P. (1975). The discovery of Hyperkinesis: Notes on the medicalization of deviant behavior.

Health Outcomes
7. Kaplan, R. M. (1990). Behavior as the central outcome in health care.

Essay II: Social Theory, Conforming, & the Change of Health Attitudes & Behaviors
Overview of Change Strategies
8. Marelich, W.D., & Rotheram-Borus, M.J. (1999). From individual to social change: The present & future directions of health interventions.

Individual & Group Change Models
9. Larson, E.B., et al. (1982). Do postcard reminders improve influenza vaccination compliance?

10. Wulfert, E., & Wan, C.K. (1993). Condom use: A self-efficacy model.

11. Hausenblas, H.A., Carron, A.V., & Mack, D.E. (1997). Application of the theories of reasoned action & planned behavior to exercise behavior: A meta-analysis.

12. Kelly, J.A., et al. (1991). HIV risk behavior reduction following interventions with key opinion leaders of population: An experimental analysis.

Designing Health Behavior Interventions
13. Rothman, A. J., et al.. (1999). The systematic influence of gain- & loss-framed messages on interest in & use of different types of health behavior.

Essay III: Health Care Settings & Their Social Dynamics
The Patient-Provider Interaction
14. Emerson, J.P. (1970). Behavior in private places: Sustaining definitions of reality in gynecological examinations.

15. Erger, J., et al. (2000). HIV health care provider/patient interaction: Observations of the process of providing antiretroviral treatment.

Setting Defining the Illness
16. Rosenhan, D.L. (1973). On being sane in insane places.

Essay IV: The Process of Stress, Coping, & Empowerment
Stressful Life Events & the Structure of Coping
17. Rabkin, J.G., & Struening, E.L. (1976). Life events, stress, & illness.

18. Folkman, S., & Lazarus, R.S. (1980). An analysis of coping in a middle-aged community sample.

On Social Relationships & Health
19. House, J.S., Landis, K.R., & Umberson, D. (1988). Social relationships & health.

Personal Responsibility & the Empowered Patient
20. Langer, E.J., & Rodin, J. (1976). The effects of choice & enhanced personal responsibility for the aged: A field experiment in an institutional setting.

21. Marelich, W.D., et al. (2002). HIV/AIDS patient involvement in antiretroviral treatment decisions.

Essay V: Health Policy, Future Paths, & Concerns
Health Policy & Activism
22. Foreman, C.H. (1994). Institutions.

23. Wachter, R.M. (1992). AIDS, activism, & the politics of health.

Behavior Change & Ethics
24. Kipnis, D. (1994). Accounting for the use of behavior technologies in social psychology.

Looking to the Future of Health
25. Kaplan, R.M. (2000). Two pathways to prevention.

Of Future Concern: Bioterrorism, Health, & Social Response
26. Holloway, H.C., et al. (1997). The threat of biological weapons: Prophylaxis & mitigation of psychological & social consequences.


Along with other learning materials this book will definitely assist students in completing this unit

Mrs Deborah Tatton
Social Work , Newcastle-under-Lyme College
July 14, 2016

This book covers a broad area of topics related to health as seen from a psychological perspective. Some great articles are included which are relevant to health and clinical psychology. University students would find this a really good source for relevant courses

Mr Geoffrey Atkinson
Health & Social Care, Doncaster College
June 5, 2014

I particularly like the chapter on stress and coping. A particularly relevant book for all students of health and health related topics

Ms Julie Burton
Psychology , Lincoln University
November 2, 2009
Key features
  • Use of a text/reader format. Each section is introduced by a jargon-free lead-in essay written by the editors to engage readers with explanatory narratives about each topic, thus providing unity to the volume and setting context for student readers. Each section then moves to a selection of classic readings that introduce students to some of the best original research in the words of the researchers themselves.
  • Inclusion of both empirical and theoretical articles from psychology-related journals (with empirical articles including a mix of qualitative and quantitative studies). Students are thus exposed to representative primary-source articles that illustrate the many theories and concepts that are health psychology.
  • Includes a range of readings that emphasize the breadth of this multidisciplinary field, with contributions from social psychologists, sociologists, epidemiologists, and public health professionals. Inclusion of areas little addressed in typical health psychology texts, like epidemiology, exposes students to important components of the larger health behavior spectrum.