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Describe the biomedical and socio-medical models of health. Compare patterns and trends of health and illness in three different social groups.

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Introduction

P4 - Describe the different concepts of ill health: There are many concepts of health in sociology and I will describe these below using the sub-headings. Disability: Disability is a socially created condition that seriously limits the day to day life of the disabled person. Impairment is a physical problem such as physically, sensory, cognitive or intellectually. A physical impairment could be a missing leg that most other people have or a deformed hand which means the person may not be able to walk or hold things. Impairments could be present from birth or could occur during the individual's life such as an accident at work. Disability is seen in sociology as a restricted opportunity to take an active role in society due to the physical or social barriers that society oppose against the individual. For example society physically restricts those who are disabled because not all buildings have access ramps and we do not provide leisure activities such as theme parks for those who are disabled. An emotional attitude of society could be that if someone has a leg missing then they will not be able to walk and should be put in a wheelchair however we could give the individual a prosthetic leg and teach them to walk with it. This kind of attitude is said to cause a disabling environment where adaptations and other facilities are not in place to aid those who are disabled to take a full role in social life. Iatrogenesis (doctor generated illness): Iatrogenisis is a tem that refers to an illness that is generated by a medical activity or practice. Ivan Illich (1976) introduced the term and it was part of his criticism on the industrialised western world which is dominated and controlled by huge drug and health companies. Illich believed that drugs actually make us more ill as we experience side-effects, for example; Paracetamol can cause drowsiness which could affect our day to day activities such as work. ...read more.

Middle

Language could also be a factor because they may be hesitant to seek medical intervention because they may fear they are unlikely to be understood or they will be discriminated against. Although it is not obvious the National Health Service will try to cater and provide for the needs of the majority of the population, therefore minority groups might be excluded from what the rest of society has. There have also been arguments that white middle class people receive better health care because they are not as likely to be discriminated against and have a more important role in society. Those from a ethnic minority such as those who are black Caribbean are more likely to be unemployed compared to those who are white British. For black Caribbean there is a 15% chance of being unemployed compared to a 4% for the white British, this could make the black Caribbean's poorer and live in worse conditions as a result which would affect their health negatively and cause a higher chance of getting a disease or having a premature death compared to a white British person. The diagram below shows the religion of an individual and the 'not good health rates' as described by the government in 2001. The diagram shows that Muslims have the worst health and Jewish have the best, this could be because of their lifestyles, for example not eating certain meats. However, it could just be pure coincidence. Social class and patterns of health and illness: Standards of health, morbidity rate and life expectancy vary accordingly to the social group and class that we fit into. If I were to be the son of a very wealthy father then I am likely to have a longer life expectancy and better health than that of a child in a family of ten relying on state benefits because they will have less money and may be regarded as less important in society. ...read more.

Conclusion

In terms of social class the higher classes will have more materials to use to be healthier such as medicines and food however the lower classes won't. There is also debate that white middle class people are treated better in society by the health care service and society, this also relates to ethnicity because if a person isn't white then they might be treated less fairly. This same argument could be used for gender because men are said to more dominant in the world because we have patriarchal societies. Therefore, men could be treated better than women when they see the doctor because it is assumed that men will have a better job and earn more than women. I think the material and cultural explanation explains health and illness better because I believe it is down to what people have and what they choose to do with what they have that influences their health. Because of state benefits and the national assistance act we all have the same minimum amount of finances and human rights, but it is our choice on what we spend our finances on. If we choose to smoke then it is partly our own fault if we develop cancer or give it to those around us. The statistical artefact explanation however, does illustrate that the statistics presented by the government may not necessarily be accurate and concise because certain illnesses do not get reported and documents in the same way as crime. Natural and social selection explains why some people get ill and why some diseases are more prevalent but it doesn't offer a way to solve the inequalities in society like the material explanation does. If a person is given the chance to escape their situation they will are likely to grasp it with both hands and seek a better life and living conditions which will improve their health, however, the statistical artefact explanation doesn't. On the other hand, the statistical artefact shows the need to try and source the people who do not report their illnesses. ...read more.

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