The Sociology of Health

Access to health professions Lecturer: Elspeth Cordell

Outcomes for this unit • • Sociology of Health criteria sheet The assessment for this unit

Today’s lesson outcomes • • • • Define Biomedical and social definitions of health (C1) Discuss the differences (C1.1) Evaluate with examples the definitions of health and illness (C1.1) By the end of the lesson we should have addressed part 1 of the assignment

Getting you thinking task: When can a illness be labelled as a illness • Answer the questions on the hand-out

Conclusion of activity • • • Real evidence Produces sympathy Patient is believed

But what is ‘health’?

Working towards Criteria 1 of assessment • • • Part 1 What does ‘health’ mean?

Spend a couple of minutes writing your own definition of health After this , share with your neighbour Part 2 • • We need to have a definition of health.


Public definitions of health • • • • • Blaxter (1990) 10,000 people How they define health 3 categories immerged

3 definitions of health and illness • • • Public definitions Bio-medical model The Social model • T: Firstly Come up with your own definitions of ‘health’

1: positive definition • • Health defined as: Being fit and able to undertake any reasonable task • • Feelings are attached to this definition How one ‘feels’

2- negative definition • Health defined in terms of being free from pain and discomfort • Absence of feeling hurt or feeling pain

3. Functional definition • Healthy is defined in terms of being able to perform a range of tasks • Objective view of health- mechanical

What influences these definitions?

• What factors could influence how we define health? for example cultural differences 1. Think of things that could influence how we define health 2. give an example

Example: Mental illness • • • Is culture bound evidence suggests that mental illness in one culture may not be viewed as such in another (Fernando, 1991) Atypical behaviour?

Cultural differences • • • • • • Krause (1989) Hindu and Sikh Punjabis living in Bedford Sinking heart Physical chest pain Illness caused by variety of emotional experiences Public shame Any other examples ?

So • What is needed is an accepted definition of health and illness

The accepted definition..

• • “A state of complete physical, social and mental wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” WHO 1948 T: Anything wrong with this?

The up-to-date definition..

• • “Health is seen as a resource for everyday life, not an object of living. It is a positive concept emphasising social and personal resources as well as physical capabilities. The extent to which an individual or (group of individuals) is able, on one hand to realise aspirations and satisfy needs, and on the other hand to change or cope with the environment.” Is this a better definition and why?

The biomedical model (C1.1) • Worksheet task

The social model C1.1 • Worksheet task:

End of lesson • Check learning question to encapsulate MUST, SHOULD, COULD • 1. When defining health firstly what do we have to consider, and secondly why is it important?

• Please hand this to me

Implications of the definitions • • Huge implications on disabled people (Moore et al 2001) Why do you think this is?

Disability • • • impediments that stops someone from operating normally… This assumes that: we have a clear definition of normal bodily functions and what the normal activities aassociated with this body part are!

Oliver (1996) Disability is also a social construction not just physical one