Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Sociology of Health and Illness

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Public Health

DESCRIPTION The psychosocial causes of illness, illness behaviour and the factors influencing illness behaviour will be discussed. The psychosocial impact of illness and the social role of the medical and health professionals will also be explored. Social standing is an important determinant of health along with gender issues, sexual orientation and culture. The public health/family doctor practices in this social context and needs to understand the range of social issues and services available as well as with the various NGOs/ Self Help groups to mitigate their effects. The study-unit looks at the interrelation of expert and common-sense understandings of health and illness. It introduces social and psychological scientific arguments about the way disease is recognized, quantified and socially/psychologically managed and considers the social patterning of illness.

This study-unit aims at achieving an understanding of experiences of health and illness to develop holistic management plans that enable people change debilitating behaviours.

Study-unit Aims:

The aim of this study-unit is to provide concepts, theories and methods in medical sociology and health psychology which are central to the work of Public Health/Primary Care Physicians. This will involve examining social and psychological approaches to understanding:
(i) the aetiology, nature and response to symptoms and illness;
(ii) the provision, use and evaluation of health care; and
(iii) the relationship between medicine and society.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Identify the distinctive approach of sociology and psychology to the analysis of health and illness;
- Discuss key sociological and psychological interpretations of the relations between medical/health professionals and society/ patient/client.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Use basic demographic and epidemiological concepts and conventions to describe and explain changing patterns of health and illness in a population;
- Develop skills in the field of sociology and health as applied to the public health specialty.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Sociology and health care J. Bond, S Bond.
- Sociology as applied to medicine Scrambler G.
- Sociology, Giddens A.
- An introduction to health Psychology Morrison V, Bennet P.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Independent Study

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (2 Hours) SEM1 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Sandra Buttigieg (Co-ord.)
Mario Caruana
Gillian M. Martin

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.