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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2016 - 2017

Module Title Introduction to Sociology of Health & Illness
Module Code NS113
School School of Nursing and Human Sciences

Online Module Resources

Module Co-ordinatorDr Mel DuffyOffice NumberH237
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module will introduce the nursing student to Sociological concepts and theories. It will explore how culture, social and economic characterises of people's environments influences their experience of health and illness. It will develop a sociological awareness which will assist nurses to use sociology to ask appropriate questions and consider relevant factors in their care of the patient/client. This module will enable the student to gain an understanding of the social changes taking place in society - from family structures and belief systems to the influences of technologies and social institutions on both the patients/clients experience whether able or dis-abled bodied of health and illness as well as the nurses’ ability to care in a changing environment.

Learning Outcomes

1. Describe the major theoretical approaches and concepts in sociology
2. Discuss the relevance of sociology to the study of health and illness
3. Demonstrate an understanding of the socialisation process both in society and nursing
4. Identify theoretical approaches to the sociological debates of health and illness
5. Illustrate an understanding of how family, religion, culture, sexuality and gender influences an individual's or groups comprehension of health and illness in a changing Ireland

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24Interactive lecture series
Independent Study13Learning how to source material - becoming a competent library user
Directed learning8Labelling & stigma - application to branches
Directed learning8Culture & ethnicity - role in health care
Directed learning8Gender - mascuilinity/feminity role in health
Directed learning8Sexuality amd health
Directed learning8Social institution - upack how they influence health
Independent Study5identifying quality of articles and relevance
Independent Study5learning how to retrieve materila
Independent Study38Examination preparation
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Explore the effects of the socialisation process by investigating the norms, values and belief systems of society. How we go from child to adult - from lay person to professional - how we become a patient

Gender and health
Investigate whethert it matters being a woman or man in relation to health. The effects of mascuilinity or feminity.

Social Institutions
Discuss how the main institutions - family - education - religion can influence our health

Social Class & Inequality
Main theories of class. Develop an understanding of how class and inequality can shape our understanding of health and illness

Culture & Ethnicity
Examine how culture and/or etnicity can shape our understanding of health and illness. Explore our understanding of who why people become ill.

Sexuality and health
Describe how a person's sexuality is an influential factor in your health.

Labelling and Stigma
Discuss how our physical, psychological or our social difference affects our health status. Be aware of how technologies can influence our sense of self.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment0% Examination Weight100%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • Duffy, Mel (compilation text): 2006, Introduction to Sociology of Health & Illness, 1846581605
  • Barry, A. & Yuill, C: 2003, Understanding Health: A Sociological Introduction, SAGE,
  • Wren, MaevAnn: 2003, Unhealthy State: Anatomy of a Sick Society, New Island,
  • Tovey H & Share P: 2003, A Sociology of Ireland, Gill & Macmillan,
  • White, K: 2002, An Introduction to the Sociology of Health and Illness, SAGE,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
BNCGBSc in Children's & General Nursing
BNGNBSc in Nursing (General)
BNIDBSc in Nursing (Intellectual Disability)
BNPYBSc in Nursing (Psychiatric)