Actors, patients and agency: a recent history

Sociol Health Illn. 2014 Feb;36(2):163-74. doi: 10.1111/1467-9566.12100. Epub 2013 Dec 28.


This article examines the history of patients' behaviour since the middle of the 20(th) century. It describes a number of strategies that have served to encourage patients to exercise increasingly autonomous behaviour. The effect has been to instil a sense of agency in previously passive patients.

Keywords: agency; autonomy; behaviour; patients.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Patient Compliance / psychology
  • Patients / history*
  • Patients / psychology
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Sick Role