Sociology of Health

UBC’s Sociology of Health research stream focuses on social factors associated with health and wellbeing. It conceives of physical and mental health as an attribute of societies, communities, smaller groups like families, and individuals. It addresses issues such as the social determinants of health, the intersection of health and environment, health over the life course, public health and public policy, power and health, and the ways in which organizations shape health.

Read the works of our researchers:

Seth Abrutyn

Kimberly Huyser

Phyllis Johnson

Anne Martin-Matthews

Ethan Raker

Lindsey Richardson

Guy Stecklov

Gerry Veenstra

Qiang Fu

We offer the following courses in the Sociology of Health:

  • SOCI 479 Social Determinants of Health
  • SOCI 473: Sociology of Mental Illness
  • SOCI 584A: Health, Illness & Society
  • SOCI 508: Advanced Methods Seminar

We offer the following courses in the Sociology of Health:

  • SOCI 290: Global Pandemics
  • SOCI 344: Sociology of Aging
  • SOCI 387: Drugs and Society
  • SOCI 384: Sociology of Health and Illness
  • SOCI 495F Sociology and Health
  • SOCI 495x: Sociology of Indigenous Health
  • SOCI 495x: The Demography of Disasters
  • SOCI 599E 201: Aging and Society

About this research area:

Health sociology in the department involves the examination of health and illness at the intersections of social structures and institutions, governments and policies, healthcare systems and personal experiences.

This area involves investigation of the influence of social, political and economic inequalities on the differential distribution of health and illness within populations and among groups of individuals.

In particular, scholars in the department conduct research on the health effects of socioeconomic status and social class, race and ethnicity, housing, social capital, income generation practices, and neighbourhood of residence.

This prominent area of health sociology, with roots in phenomenology and symbolic interactionism, focuses on exploring meanings associated with experiences of health, illness, illness-related stigma, and care-seeking for individuals and their families and on patterns of communication between clients of health services and service providers.

The field of health sociology also includes examination of the organization of healthcare institutions and their role in shaping the delivery of health services.

This area includes a long tradition of research focused on how medical students are socialized into the medical profession well as examinations of the culture of hospitals and nursing homes and implications for the quality of care provided.

Current research involves investigation of the effects of privatization and outsourcing of hospital support services and issues pertaining to the recruitment, retention, training and work dynamics of home support workers.

Work in this area seeks to identify the implications of health and social policies for the nature of healthcare systems and the health and well-being of populations.

Current research investigates how the construction and use of measurement instruments influences policy decisions and understandings about health, and the health impacts of different social policies.