Toward a Sociological Theory of Religion and Health


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Driven by funding agencies, empirical research in the social scientific study of health and medicine has grown in quantity and developed in quality. When it became evident, in what is now a tradition of inquiry, that people’s religious activities had significant health consequences, a portion of that body of work began to focus more frequently on the relationship between health and religion. The field has reached a point where book-length summaries of empirical findings, especially those pertinent to older people, can identify independent, mediating, and dependent variables of interest. Every mediating variable, even if considered as a “control” variable, represents an explanation, a small theory of some kind. However, taken in granular form, as it were, the multiple theories do not comprise mid-level theory, let alone a general theoretical framework. This volume seeks to move toward more general theoretical development.

Contributors include: Alex Bierman, Sherry Cummings, Christopher G. Ellison, Andrea K. Henderson, Barbara Kilbourne, Neal Krause, Jeff Levin, Robert S. Levine, Eric Liu, Michael K. Roemer, Scott Schieman, and Ephraim Shapiro.

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Anthony J. Blasi, Ph.D. (1974) in Sociology University of Notre Dame, Th.D. (1986) Regis College/University of Toronto, is Professor of Sociology at Tennessee State University. His books include "Transition from Vowed to Lay Ministry in American Catholicism" and "American Sociology of Religion: Histories." He served as President of the Association for the Sociology of Religion in 2001.
"[B]y sketching the crucial elements of a general interpretative approach and providing empirical analysis of the various dimensions involved, this book surely makes an important contribution to the understanding of the link between religion and health." - C. Genova, University of Turin, in: Journal of Empirical Theology 28 (2015), 146-147
All those interested in the ways religion and health intersect among people in North American society, especially with reference to such differentiating phenomena as race, ethnicity, age, and gender.
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