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J Health Soc Behav. 2006 Sep;47(3):189-208.

Of pride and prejudice: the role of sociology and social networks in integrating the health sciences.

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  • 1Department of Sociology, Indiana University, 1022 E. Third Street, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA. pescosol@indiana.edu

Erratum in

  • J Health Soc Behav. 2007 Jun;48(2):2 p preceding 99.

Abstract

Calls have been issued for understanding the "contexts" or "environment" shaping the causes and consequences of health and health care. Existing efforts raise concerns about how a panorama of influences can be considered simultaneously. Sociology's view of contexts as social network structures that shape and are shaped in social interaction offers one key to resolving this dilemma. Because social networks have become central in the social, natural, and physical sciences, this perspective provides a common platform for bringing in sociology's rich theoretical and methodological insights. Yet, to do this well, three conditions must shape our response. First, all levels relevant to health and health care must be considered, separated out, and linked by network mechanisms. The genetic-biological level, perhaps the most foreign level to sociologists, represents the greatest need and best prospect for advancing a sociologically based solution. Second, room must be made to tailor models to populations, whether defined socially or medically. Third, sociologists must find a voice within "big science " to address problems from social construction to social causation that contribute to basic social processes as well as health. I trace developments in the Network-Episode Model as one theoretical starting point.

PMID:
17066772
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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