Cover image for The status syndrome : how social standing affects our health and longevity
The status syndrome : how social standing affects our health and longevity
Marmot, Michael, 1945-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Henry Holt, 2004.
Physical Description:
319 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


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Material Type
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RA418.5.S63 M37 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Based on decades of his own research, a pioneering epidemiologist reveals the surprising factors behind who lives longer and why You probably didn't realize that when you graduated from college you increased your lifespan, or that your co-worker who has a master's degree is more likely to live a longer and healthier life. Seemingly small social differences in education, job title, income, even the size of your house or apartment have a profound impact on your health.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.In this groundbreaking book, Marmot, 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.

Author Notes

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.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. Marmot bases his conclusions on his study of British civil servants, but backs up his theory at every turn with mountains of other research, from experiments on rhesus monkeys to studies of cigarette factory workers in India. For a book based on statistics, the text contains only a few graphs, but Marmot still provides a comprehensive overview of the current understanding of how our health depends on the society around us, and particularly on the sense of autonomy and control one has over one's life. As an adviser to the World Health Organization, Marmot has had the opportunity to make policy recommendations based on his theory. The Status Syndrome may not be a page-turner, but it will make readers look at the rat race in a whole new way. Agent, Rob McQuilkin. (Aug. 9) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Recently, researchers have turned their attention to the relationship between social status and health in richer countries. Marmot (epidemiology & public health, University Coll., London) illustrates how, time and again, health appears to follow a gradient based on social status-i.e., the lower the status, the worse the health; all social groups are affected, not just those at the bottom or the top. This phenomenon appears to continue even after accounting for differences in genetics, diet, smoking habits, and exercise. Marmot supports his thesis with evidence from numerous studies, particularly the Whitehall research, which followed 18,000 British civil servants over several decades and indicated that the more opportunity people have for social engagement and the greater control that they have over their lives, the better their health. Although the book is scholarly in format, jargon is kept to a minimum. Highly recommended for public health collections.-Tina Neville, Univ. of South Florida at St. Petersburg Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
1 Some Are More Equal than Othersp. 13
2 Men and Women Behaving Badly?p. 37
3 Poverty Enrichedp. 61
4 Relatively Speakingp. 82
5 Who's in Charge?p. 104
6 Home Alonep. 138
7 Trusting Togetherp. 164
8 The Missing Men of Russiap. 190
9 The Travails of the Fathers...and Mothersp. 215
10 The Moral Imperative and the Bottom Linep. 239
Appendix Recommendations from the Independent Inquiry into Inequalities in Healthp. 259
Notesp. 273
Bibliographyp. 283
Acknowledgmentsp. 297