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Biomedical and the socio-medical models of health

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Biomedical and the socio-medical models of health The biomedical model of health looks at individual physical functioning and describes bad health and illness as the presence of disease and symptoms of illness as a result of physical causes such as injury or infections and doesn't look at the social and psychological factors. E.g. biomedical models assume that the complexity of individual can be reduced so that by accumulating facts about the parts that make up their body a decision about how to fix that part will result in health The social model of health looks at how society and our environment affect our everyday health and well being, including factor such as social class, occupation, education, income and poverty, poor diet and pollution. E.g. poor housing and poverty are causes to respiratory problems and in response to these causes and origins of ill health. The socio-model aimed to encourage society to include better housing and introduce programmes to tackle poverty as a solution. The focus of these models is principally to explain why health inequalities exist and persist. The key cultural explanation places emphasis upon pathological (i.e. personal/individual) consequences of behaviour such as poor diet, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, drug addiction, sexual practices or lack of exercise. ...read more.


By contrast, the social model stresses the impact of the environment on health, the need for collective methods in the community to address health issues (particularly health inequalities) and health promotion. Hence the social model suggests that individual and community health results from complex cultural and structural influences affecting particular groups of people - ethnic minorities, women, the elderly, etc. This interpretation thus incorporates the wider social perspectives that affect individuals' well-being. It focuses on the barriers and difficulties that prevent the 'ill' person from having access to health and 'normality'. These include: lack of information or education on health care; lack of transport facilities to enable contact with doctors, hospitals, etc, difficult access to medical buildings; lack of support from and contact with others; limited protection by legislation; lack of funds or limited access to financial support; limited work opportunities. Sociology offers a range of different perspectives on health and illness. Functionalist (consensus) theorists see the role of medicine as central to the effective organisation of society, with its key function being to keep people healthy and to treat the sick, thus enabling them to be healthy contributors to society as parents, workers, etc. Hence doctors have a key role in determining a person's health status (deciding how 'well' or 'ill' the person is, declaring them fit or ...read more.


If they are experiencing symptoms of diseases or illness or are injured, they are more likely to apply negative definition than a positive one. However, research by Blaxter (1990) found that even if people had a disease they could still consider themselves to be healthy as they framed this in relation to how well people recover from illness. For example, people may say I got better quicker because I am healthy, Gender also appear to have a bearing on a concepts of health with women conceptualising health as being in control of their physical bodies through taking positive action, such as taking care of themselves by eating sensibly and taking exercise, while men in particular tend to consider health as the norm and so do not think they have to an active part in achieving this state of well- being. Positive concept of health More positives concepts of health are often described in relation to being able to do things, being resilient to stress, disease and being able to cope with life rather than an absence of ill health. E.g. those who have a positive concept of health might describe the feeling of being healthy as having energy to be active and being physically fit. Health may also be viewed in terms of the body's condition or appearance, for example, having clear skin. ...read more.

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