UCLA Sloan Center on Everyday Lives of Families Working Paper No. 5 2002
Health-related research by medical anthropologists has been notorious for its gap in knowledge about illness behavior among everyday urban families. In the past, medical anthropologists consistently focused on non-Western contexts and cultures, with particular attention paid to non-routine illness management. However, anthropologists are now increasing their attention on studies within their own culture. This paper provides a theoretical review of decision-making and health-seeking theories set forth by anthropologists in the past forty years. This paper will be followed by a data-based paper applying these theories to research on working families in Los Angeles. This review provides guidelines for future research and exemplifies the benefits of using mixed-data-gathering methods in the study of medical decision-making and illness behaviors and activities in the everyday lives of families.