—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.