Assess sociological explanations of social class differences in health chances.

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Assess sociological explanations of social class differences in health chances.

Social Class is the concept that people in a society are grouped into hierarchical social categories based on their income, education and standard of living. The three main groupings are: Working class, Middle class and Upper class. Within these classes people have access to different standards of healthcare. Statistics show that Working Class people have higher mortality and morbidity rates than the Upper and Middle classes. This is known as the ‘health divide’. The black report of 1980 was the first time the health divide was identified and the findings were so bad that the Government tried to prevent them from going public. Only 260 copies were made and released at a convenient time to minimize publicity. Much more research has been carried out since the Black report and they all show near enough the same trends in their results.

The Artefact explanation for the health inequalities state that the patterns shown are an illusion created by statistics and do not really exist. Illsley says that we cannot social class categories because the sizes of the groups have changed. The Working Class is constantly shrinking so comparing them to the ever-expanding upper class is pointless. He also states that the people left in the lower classes are older and so their health is expected to be poorer.

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The biological explanation states that groups in society are biologically different and so experience different standards of health as a natural process. People who suffer from illness sink to the bottom classes of society, while those who are physically and mentally strong rise to the top. People who experience poor health find it more difficult to get a good job and therefore ‘class doesn’t cause ill heath, ill health causes class’.

The Cultural and Behavioral explanation is concerned with choice and attitudes. Norms and values are different among the working class. The choices lower classes make will ...

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