In Sickness and In Health: Disease and Disability in Contemporary America by Richard K. ThomasIn Sickness and In Health: Disease and Disability in Contemporary America by Richard K. Thomas

In Sickness and In Health: Disease and Disability in Contemporary America

byRichard K. Thomas

Hardcover | December 19, 2015

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The increasing importance of sickness and disability data across health-related disciplines is the focus of this concise but comprehensive resource. It reviews the basics of morbidity at the population level by defining core concepts, analyzing why morbidity has overtaken mortality as central to demographic study, and surveying ways these data are generated, accessed, and measured. Subsequent chapters demonstrate how this knowledge can be used to better understand-and potentially solve-critical public health issues, benefitting not only populations served, but also areas such as health services planning, resource allocation, and health policy-setting. 

To make this material useful to the most readers, this reference:

  • Explains why and how morbidity data are categorized by health professionals and other data users.
  • Examines various methods of identifying and measuring morbidity data.
  • Identifies demographic and non-demographic factors associated with morbidity.
  • Describes and evaluates sources of U.S. morbidity data.
  • Reviews the current state of morbidity in the U.S., and what it means for healthcare and society in general.
  • Suggests future uses of morbidity data in reducing health disparities and improving population health.

InSicknessandIn Healthis uniquely relevant to demographers and demography students, public health professionals, and epidemiologists. Its presentation of concepts and applications makes the book a valuable classroom text and a useful guide for those addressing challenges facing U.S. healthcare. 

Richard K. Thomas is Partner and Vice President of Health and Performance Resources in Memphis, TN. He is also Instructor and Research Associate at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, MS. Thomas is the author of Health Services Marketing: A Practitioner's Guide, published by Springer.
Title:In Sickness and In Health: Disease and Disability in Contemporary AmericaFormat:HardcoverDimensions:213 pagesPublished:December 19, 2015Publisher:Springer-Verlag/Sci-Tech/TradeLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:149393421X

ISBN - 13:9781493934218


Table of Contents


Introduction to the topic and the book, including the rationale for studying morbidity and the factors within demography and without that make an understanding of sickness and disability critical.

Chapter 1: Introduction to the Study of Morbidity

Defines morbidity and discusses its various dimensions, traces the history of the study of morbidity including developments making the topic more relevant, who studies it and why. Presents the rationale for the book and how it might be used by target audiences.

Chapter 2: Defining the concepts

Presents the various concepts utilized by those studying morbidity, distinguishes between such terms as health, sickness, disease and disability among others, and describes how the manner in which a concept is formulated affects the study of morbidity. Discusses the dynamic nature of morbidity and the factors that have contributed to a rethinking of the nature of morbidity within the U.S. population.

Chapter 3: Categories of Morbidity Data

Provides an overview of the ways in which morbidity data can be categorized, the ways different parties view and utilize the data, the various official classification systems that are used in healthcare and other arenas. Discusses the role of epidemiologists and population scientists in identifying and classifying various indicators of sickness and disability. Describes the case-finding process and disti

nguishes between morbidity analysis for physical health and mental health.

Chapter 4: Issues in Measuring Morbidity

The primary purpose of the study of morbidity is to determine the level of sickness and disability that exists within a population. The various measures utilized are reviewed and efforts to develop health status indicators discussed. Considers both objective and subjective measures of health status as well as proxy measures that can be used in the absence of actual data. Challenges in measuring the level of morbidity are examined and efforts to quantify the level of sickness and disability within the population reviewed.

Chapter 5: Factors Influencing Morbidity

After a foundation in definitions, categories, and measurement techniques is established, the factors that influence the level of morbidity within a population are reviewed, including demographic correlates, lifestyle patterns, environmental considerations and structural factors (e.g., access to healthcare). Particular emphasis is placed on the role of changing demographic attributes and processes in the evolution of morbidity patterns.

Chapter 6: Trends in Morbidity

Reviews the current state of morbidity in the U.S., traces changes in the patterns of morbidity over the past century and the changing perceptions of health and illness. Discusses the

implications of morbidity change for both healthcare and society in general. The impact of the epidemiologic transition, major demographic trends, environmental factors and developments in medical science on morbidity patterns are discussed.

Chapter 7: Generating Morbidity Data

Building on the understanding of morbidity concepts, measurement and trends, explains how we know what we know about sickness and disability in U.S. society and what prospects exist for improved morbidity data in the future. Discusses the process through which morbidity data is generated, compiled and disseminated, the entities that generate morbidity data, and the means of disseminating this information. .

Chapter 8: Morbidity Analysis

The ultimate questions for applied uses of morbidity data are: What data options are available, how can they be evaluated and how can the best source for a particular application be identified. Uses of various types of data for morbidity analysis are described and real-world examples of morbidity analysis are provided.


An extensive glossary of terms and concepts related to morbidity and associated topics, including "official" terminology used by government agencies and technical terms from the healthcare field.


Although citations are minimized in the text the bibliography will include every known relevant entry related to the study and measurement of sickness

and illness in society.

Editorial Reviews

"In Sickness and In Health provides detailed, well-exampled information on an immediately relevant subject, morbidity. . The text is clear without getting bogged down in jargon, and if terms are unclear, readers can consult the brief glossary that provides succinct definitions. . Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals/practitioners." (J. P. Bourgeois, Choice, Vol. 53 (12), September, 2016)