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The influence of social class on health and healthcare.

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Introduction

The influence of social class on health and healthcare This essay will define class, measurement of class by Registrar General Scale, and other interwoven factors by Acheson Report The four explanations for health inequalities, barriers to health care, new government initiatives, models of health and illness will also be considered. Relevance of sociology to nursing will be discussed last. Social class is grouping of people together and according them status in the based on their social and economic standing in the society. This form of social stratification is indebted to Marx (1883) and Weber (1864) theories. To Marx, social class is determined by two separate groups. The owner of factory, farms and raw material; and their labourers working for the production Senior and Viveash (1997). But Weber argued that social class is determined by individual's skills and qualifications obtained when competing for work in the job market, which determines their social prestige, life-style and life-chances of enjoying good standard of living Gormley (1999). In Britain class has been design for statistical purpose by the first Registrar General's scale of 1911 used to measure infant mortality rate. It consist six classes from class 1 professionals to unemployed in class V subdivided into manuals and non manuals jobs. Although sociologists used RGN,s model for its convenience but was criticized and argued that of not having enough information about today's multirunged society as skill on employment might not be the best method to measure access to social resources. Senior and Viveash (1997) ...read more.

Middle

shows that major causes of death preventable by lifestyle are found in lower social class. For example smoking is the cause of lung cancer in 90 per cent of all cases, a lack of fibre in diet causes stomach and colon cancer, a lack of exercise is partly a cause in hypertension. Health improvement strategies and attendance of preventive services scores favourably for middle class and regional south east compared to lower class and residents in Manchester and Wales. However the prefer lifestyle of lower social class is insufficient for cultural explanation of health inequalities. Marmot et al (1984) comparing individuals from social class I and V whose smoking, eating, drinking and exercise habits are broadly similar, found that health inequalities still persist. Brown Harris (1989) also argued that risk behaviours are unevenly distributed between social classes and people's behaviour can be a response to social circumstances. The material explanations blame factors such as poverty are a direct cause of mortality including poor housing conditions, educational provision, lack of resources in health and life threatening occupations for poor health experience by lower social class as they are more likely to be affected by these differences in circumstances of life that contributes to stress and depression as lifestyles tend to stay the same. Poverty limit choices, satisfying immediate gratification; it is about being denied the expectation of decent health, education, shelter, a social life and a sense of self esteem Marsh (2000). But it can be argue that while some disease are more widespread in rich nations, life expectancy is lower in poorer nations. ...read more.

Conclusion

explain two main approaches of health, the medical and social models. Medically, disease is caused by biological factors, and personal factors such as smoking and diet which shows the moral failings of the individual or sudden attack of disease. But the social model, emphasis on the social causes of ill-health and how social conditions influences health. But according to WHO (1984)define health as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well being, and not merely the absence of disease or deficiency while illness is the subjective feeling of being unwell. But there are cultural differences in how society classifies health, illness, the causes and the treatment. Gomm (1998). Therefore looking at inequalities in health materialistic and cultural differences are probably the most important in explaining health inequalities in the UK. It appears that poverty and its associated culture are the main causes of poor health. Although social class is an important determinant of life chances but poverty should be tackle through redistribution of income and wealth. The successive governments have been preoccupied with health services rather than health. A return to the lesser income and wealth differentials of 1983 would prevent about 7500 deaths a year among people aged under 65 and 2500 lives a year would be saved by eliminating long-term unemployment; eradicating child poverty would reduce children mortality under 15 by 1500 Hills Joseph Rowntree Foundation (1998). Sociology in relation to nursing profession is that knowledge, recognition and measurement of the extent of these inequalities has brought new considerations into debates about effective professional practice in diverse heath care Moreover it will empowered the medical profession to transform the future of clinical practice and shape our attitude and reasoning. 1 F08086 ...read more.

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