Social Group Characteristics and Health Behavior

  • Reed Geertsen


How does the organization of social relationships affect human responses to potentially disruptive situations like illness or the possibility of illness? After several decades of speculation and research, much has been learned, although most of what we know in this area continues to be challenged and reinterpreted through ongoing research. In the field of sociology, these challenges have taken several different directions. New and more sophisticated methodologies continue to be applied to earlier data sets in an effort to substantiate, refute, or modify previous research findings. Once-popular theories and modes of explanation like systems theory and functionalism have given way to alternative approaches like network theory. Replications of research using diverse population groups have helped to clarify and, in many cases, correct previous conclusions of how key variables combine to influence behavior.


Social Network Network Member Cultural Orientation Network Advice Medical Orientation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Andersen, R., Lewis, S. Z., Giachello, A. L., Aday, L. A., & Chiu, G. (1981). Access to medical care among the Hispanic population of the southwestern United States. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 22, 78–89.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Berkanovic, E., & Telesky, C. (1982). Social networks, beliefs, and the decision to seek medical care: An analysis of congruent and incongruent patterns. Medical Care, 20, 1018–1026.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berkanovic, E., & Telesky, C. (1985). Mexican-American, Black-American and White-American differences in reporting illnesses, disability and physician visits for illness. Social Science and Medicine, 20, 567–577.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Berkanovic, E., Telesky, C., & Reeder, S. (1981). Structural and social psychological factors in the decision to seek medical care for symptoms. Medical Care, 19, 693–709.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Birkel, R. C., & Reppucci, N. D. (1983). Social networks, information seeking, and the utilization of services. American Journal of Community Psychology, 11, 185–205.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bloom, S. W. (1963). The doctor and his patient. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  7. Brown, E. L. (1964). Newer dimensions of patient care. Part 3: Patients as people. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  8. Cockerham, W. C. (1986). Medical sociology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  9. Dutton, D. B. (1978). Explaining the low use of health services by the poor: Costs, attitudes, or delivery systems. American Sociological Review, 43, 348–368.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Farge, E. J. (1978). Medical orientation among a Mexican-American population: An old and a new model reviewed. Social Science and Medicine, 12, 277–282.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Fox, J. G., & Storms, D. M. (1981). A different approach to sociodemographic predictors of satisfaction with health care. Social Science and Medicine, 15A, 557–564.Google Scholar
  12. Freidson, E. (1960). Client control of medical practice. American Journal of Sociology, 65, 374–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Geertsen, R., Klauber, M. R., Rindflesh, M., Kane, R. L., & Gray, R. (1975). A re-examination of Suchman’s views on social factors in health care utilization. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 16, 226–237.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gordon, M. M. (1964). Assimilation in American life. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Green, L. W., Werlin, S. H., Schauffler, H. H., & Avery, C. H. (1977). Research and demonstration issues in self-care. Health Education Monographs, 5, 161–189.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hines, R. (1972). The health status of black Americans: Changing perspectives. In E. Jaco (Ed.), Patients, physicians and illness (pp. 40–50). New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  17. Hoppe, S. K., & Heller, P. L. (1975). Alienation, familism, and the utilization of health services by Mexican Americans. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 16, 304–314.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Horwitz, S. M., Morgenstern, H., & Berkman, L. F. (1985). The impact of social Stressors and social networks on pediatrie medical care use. Medical Care, 23, 946–959.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hulka, B. S., & Wheat, J. R. (1985). Patterns of utilization: The patient perspective. Medical Care, 23, 438–460.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kanter, R. M. (1968). Commitment and social organization: A study of commitment mechanisms in Utopian communities. American Sociological Review, 33, 499–517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kephart, W. M. (1987). Extraordinary groups. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  22. King, S. H. (1962). Perceptions of illness and medical practice. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  23. Koos, E. (1954). The health of Regionville. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Kroeger, A. (1983). Anthropological and socio-medical health care in developing countries. Social Science and Medicine, 17, 147–161.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lendt, L. A. (1960). A social history of Washington Heights, New York City. New York: Columbia-Washington Heights Community Mental Health Project.Google Scholar
  26. Lipton, J. A., & Marbach, J. J. (1984). Ethnicity and the pain experience. Social Science and Medicine, 19, 1279–1298.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Madsen, W. (1964). Mexican Americans of south Texas. Chicago: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.Google Scholar
  28. Markides, K. S., Levin, J. S., & Ray, L. A. (1985). Determinants of physician utilization among Mexican Americans: A three generation study. Medical Care, 23, 236–246.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. McKinlay, J. B. (1973). Social networks, lay consultation and help-seeking behavior. Social Forces, 51, 275–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mechanic, D. (1979). Correlates of physician utilization: Why do major multivariate studies of physician utilization find trivial psychosocial and organizational effects. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 20, 387–396.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Nall, F. C., & Speilberg, J. (1967). Social and cultural factors in the responses of Mexican-Americans to medical treatment. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 8, 299–308.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nelson, B. J. (1980). Help-seeking from public authorities: Who arrives at the agency door? Policy Sciences, 12, 175–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. O’Dea, T. F. (1964). The Mormons. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  34. Parsons, T. (1951). The social system. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.Google Scholar
  35. Parsons, T., & Shils, E. A. (Eds.). (1962). Toward a general theory of action. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  36. Pilisuk, M., & Froland, C. (1978). Kinship, social networks, social support and health. Social Science and Medicine, 12B, 273–280.Google Scholar
  37. Quesada, G. M., & Heller, P. L. (1977). Sociocultural barriers to medical care among Mexican Americans in Texas. Medical Care, 15 (Suppl.), 93–101.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Reeder, L. G., & Berkanovic, E. (1973). Sociological concomitants of health orientations: A partial replication of Suchman. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 14, 134–143.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rubel, A. J. (1966). Across the tracks: Mexican Americans in a Texas city. Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  40. Salloway, J. (1973). Medical utilization among urban gypsies. Urban Anthropology, 2, 113–126.Google Scholar
  41. Salloway, J. C., & Dillon, P. B. (1973). A comparison of family networks and friend networks in health care utilization. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 4(Special Issue), 131–142.Google Scholar
  42. Saunders, L. (1954). Cultural difference and medical care. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  43. Schaefer, C., Coyne, J. C., & Lazarus, R. S. (1981). The health-related functions of social support. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 4, 381–405.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sharp, K., Ross, C. E., & Cockerham, W. C. (1983). Symptoms, beliefs, and the use of physician services among the disadvantaged. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 24, 255–263.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Suchman, E. A. (1964). Sociomedical variations among ethnic groups. American Journal of Sociology, 70, 319–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Suchman, E. A. (1965). Social patterns of illness and medical care. Journal of Health and Human Behavior, 6, 2–16.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Welch, S., Comer, J., & Steinman, M. (1973). Some social and attitudinal correlates of health care among Mexican Americans. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 14, 205–213.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wellman, B. (1983). Network analysis: Some basic principles. In R. Collins (ed.), Sociological theory (pp. 155–179). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  49. Zborowski, M. (1952). Cultural components in response to pain. Journal of Social Issues, 8, 16–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Zola, I. (1966). Culture and symptoms—An analysis of patients’ presenting complaints. American Sociological Review, 31, 615–630.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reed Geertsen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUtah State UniversityLoganUSA

Personalised recommendations