P2. Explain different sociological approaches to health and well being

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Samaira Azim

Anne Ferguson

P2. Explain different sociological approaches to health and well being

  1. There are different sociological approaches to health and well being such as:
  • the biomedical approach
  • the socio-medical approach

The biomedical approach to health and well being is a way of looking at a person’s health as something which is affected by disease, injury and illness rather than the person’s environment and lifestyle. They exclude all other factors which are not related to the body itself.

For example, if a person was showing symptoms of a chest infection, the doctor would listen to their chest and send them for an x-ray to find out what has caused the problem rather than questioning their environment and housing conditions.  The biomedical model is the dominant way of practising medicine in modern industrial societies such as our own.    

There are standards concerning the ‘normal’ functioning of the mind and body against which all others can be judged.  The doctor then decides what the symptoms that the patient describes signify.  On the basis of this a diagnosis is made and interventions decided upon.  

For example if a patient describes the symptoms of high blood pressure, the doctor may measure his or her blood pressure and the patient may then be prescribed drugs.  The doctor therefore is rather like a mechanic mending a faulty motor car.  

However, the socio-medical approach to health and well-being is a much more holistic approach and takes into account the person’s lifestyle choices, such as poor diet, drug/drinking habits, lack of exercise, poor housing conditions etc., as well as life chances, for e.g.  if  a person born into a low income family with little option to move from or improve the quality of their home if it is infested with vermin or is damp, is more likely to suffer with poor health and well-being than a person born into a family with a better income.

Either way, studies have shown that the lower you are on the SES, the more likely you are to suffer with poor health and well-being, as having less money to live off affects your health and well-being in many different ways such as:

  • poor diet (limited shopping budget)
  • poor physical health ( no access to swimming pools/gym due to lack of resources)
  • poor mental health (little or no option for taking part in pleasurable activities and access to transport to get around )
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The difference between the two models of health are that the  biomedical approach only considers health to be a lack of illness or disease and looks at the individual only, whereas  the socio-medical approach takes into account the persons lifestyle and environment which includes many different factors which concerns society around the individual  as well as the individual themself.


Life expectancy

The level of life expectancy varies with social class as the higher class a person belongs to, the more life chances they will have as an individual. Also, studies show that the higher class ...

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A strong piece of work examining two models of health & wellbeing. The writer shows a good understanding of the perspective of each model and was able to use relevant examples to illustrate the point of view. I would say that the criterion has been achieved. The only comments I would make in terms of improving the work are to remember to give the names of the ?studies? being referred to. Other than that, I thought this was a well-written and well thought-out essay. 4/5