Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Jerry Daday (Director), Dr. Steve Groce, Dr. Donielle Lovell

Degree Program

Department of Sociology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Although Talcott Parsons’s sick role theory, as described in 1951 in The Social System, has been severely criticized for its inapplicability to chronic illnesses, a portion of the theory is still a relevant and necessary factor in terms of understanding and treating chronic illness today. Using data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey, this study looks at the individual effects of sex, age, race, cohabitation, education and region of residence on the likelihood of chronically ill patients considering themselves limited in their amount or kind of work as an indicator of sick role adaptation. Results show statistically significant relationships between work limitation and sex, age, cohabitation, education and region of residence, when controlling for the duration of the respondents’ condition. Further evaluation of these results is provided.


Inequality and Stratification | Medicine and Health | Public Health Education and Promotion | Sociology