The Status Syndrome: How Social Standing Affects Our Health & Longevity
Softcover: 336 pages
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In this groundbreaking book, an internationally renowned epidemiologist marshals evidence from around the world and from nearly thirty years of his research to demonstrate that how much control you have over your life and the opportunities you have for full social participation are crucial for health, well-being, and longevity.
Just as Bowling Alone changed the way we think about community in America, The Status Syndrome will change the way we think about our society and how we live our lives.
For years we have focused merely on how advances in technology and genetics can extend our lives and cure disease. But as Sir Michael Marmot argues, we are looking at the issue backwards. Social inequalities are not a footnote to the real causes of ill health in industrialized countries; they are the cause. The psychological experience of inequality, Marmot shows, has a profound effect on our lives. And while this may be alarming, it also suggests a ray of hope. If we can understand these social inequalities, we can also mitigate their effects.
"Michael Marmot's book offers a drink from the fire hose of social epidemiology. If you want to understand why the health of people living in the United States, the richest and most powerful country in world history, lags far behind the health of people in other rich nations, then be prepared to wet your whistle here. Marmot, a British doctor who received his epidemiologic training in the United States, directed the Whitehall II studies of British civil servants. His Whitehall research was built on earlier studies that had examined health disparities among various occupational grades of civil servants. Marmot found that in nearly all settings, the lower in a socioeconomic hierarchy a person is ranked, the worse is that person's health. And that maxim holds for almost any disease or health risk factor. Those who stand higher up on the ladder of life are always healthier than those even a few steps below. This health 'gradient' has become accepted in public health circles during the past two decades, thanks in no small part to Marmot's work. (Marmot even received a knighthood, a rare accolade for a public health researcher.) However, the health-gradient concept remains largely unfamiliar in the United States. Americans speak about health disparities but typically are referring to differences in health outcomes between whites and minority groups. Conventional wisdom considers these disparities a consequence of unequal access to health care -- or a product of unhealthy personal behavior. But in this book, Marmot demonstrates clearly that this myopic view significantly limits what we see about our society." - New England Journal of Medicine, March 2005
Sir Michael Marmot is a professor of epidemiology and public health at University College, London, where he is also the director of the International Center for Health and Society. He serves as an adviser to the World Health Organization and lectures around the world about inequalities in health. He lives in London.
"With 30 years of research and a catchy name for his theory, epidemiologist Marmot gives a wake-up call to those of us in the wealthy industrialized world who think our social status has no impact on our health: whether you look at wealth, education, upbringing or job, health steadily worsens as one descends the social ladder, even within the upper and middle classes. Beyond a simple explanation of how the deprivation of extreme poverty leads to disease, Marmot shows that life expectancy declines gradually from the upper crust to the impoverished. The odds are that your boss will live longer than you and that Donald Trump will outlive us all." - Publishers Weekly
(information from the publisher)
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