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Evaluate different sociological explanations for patterns and trends of health and illness in two different social groups

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Evaluate different sociological explanations for patterns and trends of health and illness in two different social groups Chances of becoming ill and even dying are linked to several factors which include social class, gender, age and ethnicity. The two social groups I have chosen to compare are social class and gender. I will talk about how these social groups affect health issues and explain the sociological perspectives and the patterns and trends. Social class and patterns of health and illness Social class is the ranking of people based on their occupation, education, income and manners. It is said that the higher your social class, the healthier you are. Poverty and inequality in society have effects on the social, physical and mental well-being of an individual. These two factors are closely linked. The infant mortality rate - IMR - for children born to poor parents are higher than that of a child born to rich parents. People from a higher social class are much less likely to die of conditions such as cancer, heart diseases and strokes and also tend to live longer compared to others. The Black Report - which was introduced in 1980 - examined the health differences of people by dividing the population into five social classes and provides information on how social and environmental factors of health and illness and life expectancy are linked to one another. ...read more.


This is due to the lack of money and poor housing, unhealthy and dangerous working conditions, and living in a depressing and run down area. This approach is seeing the working class as victims of a society which is unfair and prejudiced. Being ill, for example, would not be their fault but would be the result of factors such as: - Low income: which can lead to a poor diet due to fresh food having higher prices than processed food; - Poor housing: which means they can suffer from conditions such as asthma, pneumonia and bronchitis due to damp and cold living conditions; - Poor working conditions: which means they are more likely to become injured in the workplace or in some cases result in death. Factories and building sites - where working class are more likely to work - are more dangerous workplaces compared to middle class work environments, for example schools and offices. Gender and patterns of health and illness In almost all countries, men have a shorter lifespan compared to women. It has been shown by research that females averagely live up to the age of 81while males up to 76. In general, the overall life expectancy for both genders continues to increase, like it has been doing for the past 30 years. ...read more.


Whereas men tend to suffer and die from heart disease till at least the age of 50. * The Artefact Explanation This explanation looks at the statistics which are constructed. Thus, due to the role women have in a family, they are more likely to be in contact with health services compared to men. However, this does not mean they are less healthy than men. * Behavioural or Cultural Explanation This explanation shows that men are likely to die earlier in general due to them being more involved in risk-taking behaviour which includes violence and are careless about their habits and diet. Men also tend to smoke and drink more alcohol than women. * Materialistic or Structural Explanation This view is more focused on structural factors which affect the health of both genders. It states that the differences in rates of mortality and morbidity in both genders are results of their different roles in society, their positions and experiences. For example, most women just accept the responsibility of having to look after the children and the health of the others in the family. A lot of feminist writers argue on the gender inequalities like poor pay and more exposure to poverty and poor housing - especially between single mothers. These are the materialistic issues, which are the focus of the feminist ideas. Men, however, work more in hazardous environments such as mining, construction industry, diving, military and factories which use heavy machinery. http://www.healthscotland.com/equalities/socialclass.aspx http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=1007 ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

A good piece of work looking at two factors affecting people's health.

The work would benefit from a clear definition of what is meant by social class and it needed an overall conclusion.Based on what has been presented, can one factor be ruled as more important than the other? Why? Are the factors closely linked?
The writing style was good overall, although there is some repetition regarding the activities men tend to engage in compared to women.

Marked by teacher Diane Apeah-Kubi 26/04/2013

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