Illness or Disease?
  • Noel J. Chrisman


Alcoholism is a major health problem in the United States that affects most families in some way and vexes most health practitioners. In addition, it is a moral and spiritual problem, stimulating concern and outcry from the nation’s pulpits. And finally, it is the source of numerous intra- and interpersonal troubles for people, people who wonder what the problem is. As illustrated in Chapter 1, what alcoholism “is” has been the subject of heated debate. My contribution to this book is designed to explicate some of the cultural issues involved in this debate, particularly those having to do with the status of alcoholism as a disease. My approach will be to explore the relevance of the illness-disease distinction to an understanding of alcoholism.


Explanatory Model Illness Behavior Alcoholic Anonymous Medical Anthropology Sick Role 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noel J. Chrisman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Community Health Care Systems, School of NursingUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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