Peter Conrad

Peter ConradProfessor of Sociology

Peter Conrad has engaged in research and writing that has focused on identifying hyperactive (ADHD) children, the medicalization of deviance, the experience of epilepsy, worksite wellness programs, medical education, the social meanings of the new genetics and illness on the internet. His current research is on the structure, meanings, and potentials of biomedical enhancement and the globalization of ADHD.

Conrad, who joined the Department of Sociology in 1979, has served as chair of the Medical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association (1989-90) and President of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (1995-96). He received the Charles Horton Cooley Award (1981) from the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction for Deviance and Medicalization: From Badness to Sickness. In 1997 he was a Distinguished Fulbright Fellow at Queen's University of Belfast (Northern Ireland). In 2004, Conrad received the Leo G. Reeder Award from the Medical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association. The award is given annually for "distinguished contributions to medical sociology."

Conrad has published 11 books or monographs and more than 100 articles and chapters.


  • PhD, Boston University

Selected Publications

Global Perspectives on ADHD book cover"Global Perspectives on ADHD" The John Hopkins University Press, 2017.

"The Medicalization of Society," The John Hopkins University Press, 2007. JAMA Review

"Deviance and Medicalization: From Badness to Sickness book cover"Deviance and Medicalization: From Badness to Sickness" (with Joseph W. Schneider), Mosby 1980; expanded edition, Temple University Press, 1992.

Having Epilepsy book cover"Having Epilepsy: The Experience and Control of Illness" with Joseph W. Schneider), Temple University Press, 1983.

Sociology of Health and Illness book cover"Sociology of Health and Illness: Critical Perspectives," nine editions, (first four edited with Rochelle Kern), Worth Publishers (formally with St. Martin's Press), 1981-2013.

Health and Health Care in Developing Societies book cover"Health and Health Care in Developing Societies: Sociological Perspectives" (edited with Gene Gallagher), Temple University Press, 1992.

"Handbook of Medical Sociology," sixth edition (co-edited with Chloe Bird, Allen Fremont, and Stefan Timmermans). Vanderbilt University Press, 2010.

"Sociological Perspectives on the New Genetics" (co-edited with Jonathan Gabe). Blackwell, 1999.

The Double Edged Helix book cover"The Double Edged-Helix: Genetics in A Diverse Society" (co-edited with four others), Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002.


  • "The Discovery of Hyperkinesis: Notes on the Medicalization of Deviant Behavior," Social Problems, 1975.

  • "In the Closet with Illness: Epilepsy, Stigma Potential and Information Control" (with Joseph W. Schneider), Social Problems, 1980.

  • "The Meanings of Medication: Another Look at Compliance," Social Science and Medicine, 1985.

  • "The Experience of Illness: Recent and New Directions," Research in the Sociology of Health Care, 1987.

  • "Wellness in the Workplace: Potentials and Pitfalls of Worksite Health Promotion," Milbank Quarterly, 1987.

  • "Learning to Doctor: Reflections on Recent Accounts of the Medical School Years," Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 1988.

  • "Medicalization and Social Control," Annual Review of Sociology, 1992.

  • "The New Corporate Health Ethic: Lifestyle and the Social Control of Work" (with Diana Chapman Walsh), International Journal of Health Services, 1992.

  • "Wellness as Virtue: Morality and the Pursuit of Health, Culture Medicine and Psychiatry, 1994.

  • "Helmets, Injuries and Cultural Definitions: Motorcycle Injury in Urban Indonesia (with four others), Accident Analysis and Prevention, 1996.

  • "Public Eyes and Private Genes: Historic Frames, News Constructions and Social Problems," Social Problems, 1997.

  • "Parallel Play in Medical Anthropology and Medical Sociology," The American Sociologist, 1997.

  • "A Mirage of Genes" Sociology of Health and Illness, 1999.

  • "From Hyperactive Children to ADHD Adults: Observations of the Expansion of Medical Categories" (with Deborah Potter), Social Problems, 2000.

  • "Constructing the 'Gay Gene' in the News: Optimism and Skepticism in the US and British Press" (with Susan Markens), Health, 2001.

  • "Human Growth Hormone and the Temptations of Biomedical Enhancement" (with Deborah Potter), Sociology of Health and Illness, 2004.

  • "The Shifting Engines of Medicalization" (The Leo G. Reader Award lecture), Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 2005.

  • "Trends in the use of Psychotropic Medications in Adolescents, 1994-2001" (with Elizabeth Goodman, Cindy Thomas and Rosemary Casler), Psychiatric Services, 2006.

  • "Eliot Freidson's Revolution in Medical Sociology," Health, 2006.

  • "From Lydia Pinkham to Queen Levitra: DTCA and Medicalization" (with Valerie Leiter), Sociology of Health and Illness, 2008.

  • "Sequencing and Its Consequences: Path Dependence and the Relationships between Genetics and Medicalization" (with Sara Shostak and Allan Horwitz), American Journal of Sociology, 114 (S1): S287-S316, 2008.

  • "A Study of the Relational Aspects of the Culture of Academic Medicine," (with Linda Piloli, Phyllis Carr and Sharon Knight), Academic Medicine, 2009.

  • "Hierarchy as a Barrier to Advancement for Women in Academic Medicine" (with Phyllis Carr, Sharon Knight, Megan Renfrew, Mary Dunn, and Linda Poloi). Jounal of Women's Health, 2010

  • "Medicalization, Pharmaceuticals and Public Risk Scares: The Case of Menopause and HRT," (with Cheryl Stults), In Donald Light (ed.) The Risks of Prescription Drugs, 2010.

  • 'Estimating the Costs of Medicalization" (with Thomas Mackie and Ateev Mehrotra) Social Science and Medicine 70 (2010): 1943-47.

  • "The Social Construction of Illness: Key Insights and Policy Implications" (with Kristin Barker) Journal of Health and Social Behavior(2010) 51 (S): 567-79.

  • "The Medicalization of Chronic Pain" (with Vanessa Lopes Munoz), Tidsskrift for Forskning i Sygdom og Samfund (Journal for Research on Sickness and Society) 13: 13-24 (a special issue of a Danish journal on chronic pain.), 2010.

  • "Opiate Addiction: A Revival of Medical Involvement" (with Thomas Mackie) in Geoffrey Hunt, Maitena Milhet and Henri Bergeron (eds.) Drugs and Cultures: Knowledge, Consumption and Policy, Ashgate, 2011

  • "The Medicalization of Mental Disorder" (with Caitlin Slodden). In second edition of C. Aneshensal and J. Phelan, Handbook of Sociology of Mental Health, Springer, 2012.

  • "Marketing of Neuropsychiatric Illness and Enhancement," (with Allan V. Horwitz), in A. Chattergee and M. Farah (eds.), Neuroethics in Practice, Oxford University Press, 2013.

  • "Medicalization: Changing Contours, Characteristics and Contexts." William Cockerham (ed). Health Sociology on the Move: New Directions in Theory. Oxford: Blackwell, 2013.

  • "Medicalization." (with Miranda Waggoner). Blackwell Encyclopedia of Health, Illness, and Society, 2014.

  • "Autism, the Internet and Medicalization" (with Catherine Tan) Pp. 111-131 in Willy Viehoever and Peter Wehling (eds.) The Public Shaping of Medical Research: Patient Associations, Health Movements and Biomedicine. Routledge, 2014.

  • "The Impending Globalization of ADHD: Notes on the Expansion and Growth of a Medicalized Disorder" (with Meredith Bergey). Social Science and Medicine 122: 31-43, 2014.

  • "Mental Illness as a Form of Deviance: Historical Notes and Contemporary Directions" (with Julia Bandini) in Erich Goode (ed.) Wiley Handbook on Deviance. John Wiley, 2015.

  • "Medicalization: Sociological and Anthropological Perspectives" (with Meredith Bergey). International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences, second edition, Elsevier, forthcoming.