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The Status Syndrome
Cover of The Status Syndrome
The Status Syndrome
How Social Standing Affects Our Health and Longevity
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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.



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.



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About the Author-
  • Sir Michael Marmot is Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at UCL, a leading intellectual both in the UK and globally. He will take up the Lown visiting professorship at Harvard in 2015. He chaired the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health (2005-8), his recommendations have been adopted by the World Health Assembly and taken up by many countries and the British Government appointed him to conduct a review of social determinants and health inequalities. The Marmot Review and its recommendations are now being implemented in three-quarters of local authorities in England. He previously published Status Syndrome in 2004.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 17, 2004
    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.

  • The New York Times

    "[The] cutting edge of public health research... [Marmot] transformed the health establishment's thinking about the link between status and health."

  • The Observer (London) "Shows that all societies demonstrate the same truth... social status provides two crucial props to good health and personal well-being."
  • Publishers Weekly "A wake-up call to those of us in the wealthy industrialized world who think our social status has no impact on our health. [The Status Syndrome]... will make readers look at the rat race in a whole new way."
  • Robert D. Putnam, author of Bowling Alone and Better Together "Michael Marmot is a world-class scientist who writes deeply about matters of life and death with the grace of a world-class essayist. Anyone concerned about the health of our society should read this book."
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The Status Syndrome
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How Social Standing Affects Our Health and Longevity
Michael Marmot
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