Sociology of Health Essay Topics

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

The sociology of health and related sociology of illness is an important branch of sociology. This lesson offers essay topics that will help your students think critically and deeply about the sociological issues in health and wellness.

Learning the Sociology of Health

Whether you are trying to teach your students about applied sociology, medical history and issues, or public health, the sociology of health is an important field to consider. This is a subfield of sociology that focuses on the relationship between society and health. The sociology of health is a broad and diverse field that embeds many different questions and issues.

As your students learn more about the sociology of health, you may consider having them write essays about different topics within the discipline. When students write essays, they should think critically and develop theories and ideas of their own, which helps them take ownership of their own knowledge. The topics in this lesson will help your students think about different key issues in the sociology of health.


Here, you will find topics that help students understand the history of the sociology of health as a field.

  • What was paleopathology, and how did it develop as a field? Persuade your readers that paleopathology either was or was not a precursor to the discipline of the sociology of health.
  • Describe how the sociology of health has developed and evolved as a field in at least two different countries or regions over time. Try to show the influence of cultural norms and politics on understandings within this field.
  • What has been the historical relationship between understanding the sociology of health, and making public health policy changes? Give at least three different examples to prove the point you are making.
  • Choose one important disease that has existed in history or continues to show problems. Demonstrate the specific ways that sociologists have contributed to an understanding of the disease.

Race, Class, and Gender

Many of the important questions in the sociology of health have to do with race, class, and/or gender. These topics give your students a chance to put these critical factors in context.

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