• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Poverty and Health

Extracts from this document...


Title: Poverty and Health Date: 21st April 2008 Name: Jules Hindle Assignment No: 3 Introduction During this assignment I will be examining the sociological explanations for the link between poverty and illness. I will be considering various sociological explanations and will try to say which of these explanations is most useful and why. According to Taylor et al (2005, Pg 188) sociologists differ over how poverty should be defined and measured, such differences depend on their views of welfare provision and social inequality. These differences are generally divided into two definitions; absolute and relative poverty. The term 'absolute poverty' was developed over one hundred years ago and is defined according to an absolute minimum standard of living. It is based on the belief, coined by Seebohm Rowntree in 1899, that all human beings have the same essential basic needs in order to stay healthy; poverty is defined as the physical lack of these basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter (Taylor et al, 2005, Pg 171). It is generally measured by pricing these basic necessities, drawing a poverty line at this price and then defining poverty as those whose income falls below this line. ...read more.


Women are more likely to be unable to work through having to look after children especially considering that 96% of lone parents on income support are women, those that are able to work are generally paid less than men. Poverty within ethnic minorities is also an issue with twice as many black people being unemployed than white, and on average earning less per week. Immigrants can also suffer as state pensions are only available to those who have been resident in the UK for twenty years. Inequalities in health The above graph shows that for the period 1997-99, life expectancy at birth in England and Wales for males in the professional group was 7.4 years more than that for those in the unskilled manual groups. The graph above shows that there were substantial variations in reported health status by social group. Among those in employment, rates of not good health for people in routine occupations were more than double those for people in higher managerial and professional occupations (8.6 per cent and 3.4 per cent respectively). Those who had never worked or were long-term unemployed had even higher rates of not good health (18.5 per cent). ...read more.


all contributed to the early death of workers (cited Haralambos & Holborn, 2004, pg 314). Jobs can be dangerous and lead to accidents in the workplace. Respiratory diseases are common amongst construction workers and chemicals and asbestos have been known to cause work related cancers and illnesses (Haralambos & Holborn, 2004, pg 315). Material ownership also affects those on lowers income as supermarkets selling cheaper food can often only be accessed by those with cars, resulting in those on lower incomes having to pay a premium at local shops. These, and other factors, can lead to a lower quality of life and a higher mortality rate. Critics would say that a purely structural explanation ignores individual choice and labels them as the puppets of the society. All four explanations suggest that, generally, the higher up the social class you are the better your health is likely to be. I would argue that it is a combination of both cultural and structural explanations that cause the differences in health modern British society. Low incomes and lack of material assets can force people in similar circumstances together, forming social groups. Within these groups cultures are formed, creating norms and values within. Poor quality housing, bad diet, lack of exercise, smoking and drinking can come about by lack of material wealth and are accepted as the norm within lower class cultures. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Sociological Differentiation & Stratification section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Sociological Differentiation & Stratification essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Outline and asses sociological explanations for workplace inequalities between men and women

    5 star(s)

    Hakim questions why there is an emphasis on the supposed increase in female employment and not the questioning as to why despite social, economic and legislative changes women have not improved their standing within the world of work. She summaries that despite feminist movements a large amount of women simply

  2. Biomedical and the socio-medical models of health

    denial of this instinct will cause depression or other forms of ill health. Postmodernist theorists see disease as a social construct, a concept based on assumptions in society about what is normal or abnormal. They also question the practice of medicine by so-called medical experts, and argue that acupuncture, faith healing and homeopathy (among others)

  1. Empiricism Vs Rationalism

    Although some will argue that such knowledge gives us fundamental truths about reality, in others there is a disagreement about the nature of reality and the self. This particular argument shows little ground for the idea of innate knowledge. Rationalism will argue that morality is innate, arguing that there is

  2. Identify current patterns of ill health and inequality in the UK. Explain probable ...

    in the smaller shops, this means that in some cases cheap and varied food is only accessible to those that have private transport or are able to pay the cost of public transport. " People on low incomes eat less healthily partly because of cost, rather than lack of concern or information.

  1. Assess different explanations for the causes of poverty in the United Kingdom

    This idea can be seen as a valid reason for poverty as it has been shown that these groups do infact suffer as they aren't as powerful as others. However it can be argued that some of the people who are in these groups are just relying on the state to give them their benefits.

  2. Sociological models of health

    they should accept the situation they are in is not acceptable to society and must do as much as possible to get well as soon as possible, and they must seek professional medical help to get better. Parsons states that these rights are dependent on the sick person undertaking their

  1. Critically compare cultural and structural theories of the social patterning of health and illness.

    As it maintains the social order, contributes to economy, adapting towards industrial society that supported in socialization. Health and illness during the Functionalism approach from a medical, perspective sociology, created consensus structuring, the human behaviour which evolved ?sick note? that has link the theory to dysfunctional illness behaviour.

  2. Biological and Social Constructionist explanations of Gender development

    She reported feeling different and her teachers said she was generally more masculine than feminine. Brenda was even seen urinating standing up. Either Dr. Money did not know or he chose to ignore this evidence. Brenda consistently refused to have further surgery which Dr.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work