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Soc Sci Med. 1993 Jan;36(1):7-14.

Healthy bodies, social bodies: men's and women's concepts and practices of health in everyday life.

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  • Center for Biomedical Ethics, Stanford University, CA 94305.


Using interview data from white, middle-class men and women, ages 35-55, the research explores the phenomenological, embodied aspects of health. Health is found to be grounded in a sense of self and a sense of body, both of which are tied to conceptions of past and future actions. Gender is a leitmotif. The body, as the focal point of self-construction as well as health construction, implicates gender in the everyday experience of health. The interplay between health, self, body, and gender at the individual level is linked to the creation of a sense of healthiness in the body politic of society. If social psychological theories of health are to reflect adequately the everyday experience of health, they must begin to take into account the body as individually and socially problematic.

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