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Sociological Perspectives. Understanding patterns and trends in health and illness among different social groupings

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´╗┐Elise Cunningham, unit 7, Helen Smith, Sociological Perspectives for health and social care Understanding patterns and trends in health and illness among different social groupings In this assignment I am going to explain the patterns and trends in health and illness among different social groupings. I will try identifying according to the factors such as gender, social class, geographical location, ethnicity and age. Measurement of health- The statistical trends in the levels of health and illness are generated from three main sources these are; government statistics, charitable organisations and pressure groups and academic researchers and other authors. Government statistics- the government statistics provides up to date and current data on a wide range of health and care issues. Different publications provide a wide range of statistics on birth rates and death rates, infant mortality rate and suicide rates, also they withhold appointments with the GP, and hospital admissions, and they will be analysed by social class, gender, geographical location and age. Charitable organisations and pressure groups- charitable groups and also special interest groups also collect and publish statistical and information that informs the discussion on issues of health and illness. They help people with different kinds of issues and provide recent information relating to different areas of concern. ...read more.


This is why the statistics taken from death certificates have to be used with care and understand their limitations. Gender Women have a higher life expectancy then men; however there are studies that show levels are higher in women for them to have illnesses. The social factors that contribute to these differences are; 1. Risk factors 2. Economic inequalities 3. Impact of the female role In the risk factors the higher death rate for men can be linked with, the higher level of them smoking and drinking that they do. They also do more risky and dangerous activities and sports. There is a high risk of death rates in young men this is because of the risk taking they do. With the economic inequalities it shows that women do earn less than men, even women that have degrees, are still paid on average less than men. Also men just leaving university are more likely to find full time, high paid jobs, straight away. Most women are in low paid part time work more than men. This is mainly because they are the lone carers for their family and have to live on state benefits, then if they don?t go to work at all, because of this these people are more likely to be in poverty when in their old age, and because of family responsibilities they might not even have a state pension. ...read more.


This explanation has been rejected by some sociologists because the evidence shows otherwise. Cultural and behavioural explanation- this explanation is about the behaviour and lifestyle choices of people in lower social classes. Evidence has shown that people in lower social classes smoke more, drink more, are eat more junk food and don?t do enough exercise. This means their poor lifestyle choices impact on their illness, leading them to have more range of chronic illnesses. It is their difficult circumstances that lead them to make poorer lifestyle choices, and the choicest they make help them cope with the difficult circumstances. Material or structural explanations The material explanations claim that those social groups of the people where they have a lower life expectancy and where they have higher infant mortality rates will suffer from poorer health compared to other social groups because of their poor income. People in poverty and that have low incomes are associated with poor diets, poor housing, and who live in poor environments and have insecure employment. It is then these inequalities that lead to the difference in health and well-being in different people. In this assignment I have explained the patterns and trends in health and illness among different social groupings and in this I have included how health is measured, the difficulties when measuring health and also explained the sociological explanations. Page ...read more.

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