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July 15, 1974

Sick Role, Status, and Acute Respiratory Illness

Author Affiliations

Center for Disease Control Atlanta

JAMA. 1974;229(3):266. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230410012004

To the Editor.—  Monto and Ullman (227:164, 1974) presented two findings from their six-year study of respiratory illness in Tecumseh that interest me: (1) After 2 years of age, females are more frequently found with respiratory illnesses than males in the same age groups; and (2) the poorly educated-relatively wealthy have the lowest frequencies of clinically apparent respiratory illness, but the highly educated-relatively poor have the highest frequencies of clinically apparent respiratory illness. The authors attribute sex differences in morbidity to the closer contacts mothers have with their children. Socioeconomic differences came as a complete surprise to the authors, and no explanation for this finding is offered.In my opinion, the conclusion regarding the first finding is premature, and, with the use of the sociological literature on status inconsistency, the second finding might have been anticipated.Regarding sex differences in respiratory illness, Fig 1 of the article by Monto and