Medical Sociology


When a person becomes sick, he or she may demonstrate a variety of behaviors. Some people like to be left alone while others may seek assistance. Some people will act well even when they are sick. They may even feel guilty for not being able to do their work or take responsibilities.

What are the four aspects of the sick role model (Parsons 1951)?

According to Parsons, medicine is an institution for the social control of deviant behavior. Do you agree or disagree with this view? Why or why not?

What is the patient-physician relationship according to Cockerham?

Which two sociological examples of the sick role, as evidenced by existing research, do you think are most appropriate? Justify your answers with appropriate research and reasoning.

Complementary and Alternative medicine (CAM) —An analysis

“CAM therapies have been in existence for hundreds of years. While many of these therapies are commonly used in non-Western societies their popularity is increasing steadily. In fact, large numbers of American consumers are using CAM currently in an effort to pre-empt disease and disability or to promote health and a sense of well-being.”

(Source: Kirschstein, R. I., Acting Director, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health, AMSA, 2008.)

How effective do you think CAM is in comparison to clinical treatment and diagnosis? Justify your answer.

Identify and discuss at least 10 types of treatments offered by CAM practitioners.

Analyze and present at least one case that shows the positive effect of CAM and one that shows the negative effect.

What is the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) role in CAM research? Justify your answers with appropriate research and reasoning and comment on the postings of at least two peers.


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