chapter
Introduction
ByAlan Radley
Pages 8

Over the past twenty years the study of illness as experienced by patients has emerged as an approach to understanding sickness and health in general. From descriptions of the everyday situations of people with particular diseases, a commentary has been made upon the nature of symptoms and upon the relation of the body to society. This approach stresses the biographical and the cultural contexts in which illness arises and is borne by patients and those who care for them. It emphasizes the need to understand illness in terms of the patient’s own interpretation of its onset, the course of its progress and the potential of the treatment for the condition.