Sociology; The social distribution of health and illness

This is for the 'health and illness' syllabus

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  • Created by: Sam Hill
  • Created on: 02-05-09 16:15

The social distribution of health and illness; Soc

Higher social class tend to be more healthier than lower. This is the same for life expectancy.

The Black Report (1980) found that there was a clear health gap between working and middle classes. It suggested four possible reasons for this;

The artefact approach suggests the underclass are of the worst health, but they are a small group, so is pointless. When added to the other lower class, the gap between them and the middle class is more visible.

Theories of natural selection suggest your health influences your social class, because you are unable to hold down a middle class job.

Behavioural/cultural explanations suggest that working class have a different lifestyle to middle, leading them to worse health in diet, exercise, alcohol and smoking. However, it can be argued that working class feel more stress.

Materialistic/structural factors blames society rather than the people through a low income, poor housing and poor working conditions.

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The social distribution of health and illness; Gen

Women suffer more illness than men is due to the triple shift (feminist), where they have jobs, do the housework and look after the children, and deal with emotional issues, and because of a lack of support, they suffer from physical/mental problems. Also, they tend to be in poverty more.

Women live longer because they seek medical help more, drink and smoke less than males, have less dangerous jobs. and play less dangerous sports. Men take more risks, as well as work unsociably and longer, leading to stress and depression, and then drinking.

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The social distribution of health and illness; Eth

Compared to whites;

  • Indians and Pakistanis suffer more heart disease.
  • Carribeans & Indians suffer more strokes.
  • Minorities have higher morbidity, as well as stillbirth.
  • Minorities will suffer from tuberculosis and liver cancer more
  • African Carribeans will be admitted to mental hospitals more.

This could be biological, as Afro-Carribeans suffer higher blood pressure and sickle cell amenia.

It could be cultural and behavioural, as Asians use ghee for cooking, a fat which ends up with more diabities.

Materialistic and structural also, as ill health is a result of low incomes and poor working conditions, as Pakistanis and Bangledeshis tend to be poorer than Indians and Chinese.

Racism and discrimination is a final one, as unemployment, anti-social working hours and excessive work could lead to physical/mental illness.

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The social distribution of health and illness; Age

More old people are living, so it now links into social factors. White middle class tend to be healthiest, as oppose to poor and ethnic monirity elders.

In the north, people are less healthy, as the infant mortality is twice as high, three times more people have long term illness and there are four times as many children living in poverty.

The UK tends to be one of the healthiest countries, howver this is because of poverty and malnutrition, lack of health care provision, infectious diseases and prevelant HIV/AID's.

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