How Socioeconomic Status Impacts on Health Outcomes in Contemporary Australia

Topics: Health care, Health economics, Sociology Pages: 4 (1232 words) Published: July 10, 2011
Discuss How Socioeconomic Status Impacts on Health Outcomes in Contemporary Australia: In contemporary Australia there are many social classes which group people in regards to their financial, legal and family situations. The effect that socioeconomic status has on the health outcomes of an Australian person today’s society is a great one. Persons belonging to low or the lowest socioeconomic status groups have more disadvantaged health outcomes compared to persons belonging to high socioeconomic status groups (Govil, et al, 2009). There are many social factors that determine health and a large number of them are deprived in lower socioeconomic status groups. These social determinants would include housing, employment, education and income. It has been found that the greater the degree of socioeconomic status inequalities within a society, the steeper the gradient of health inequalities (Schrader, 2003). It is also important to consider the impacts of socioeconomic status in the context of sociological theories of stratification; such as symbolic interaction, functionalism and conflict theory. The sociological theories of stratification are defined by how different groups in society are viewed, valued or undervalued. Firstly, Symbolic Interactism is a concept by Calvin Cooley referred to as the 'Looking Glass Self’. We see ourselves in terms of how we are viewed in society. If society views us unworthy or substandard we may come to perceive ourselves that way and behave accordingly. The media largely perpetuates certain attitudes about socioeconomic groups and hence suggests particular behaviour within those socioeconomic groups. This can be either positive or negative and significantly influences health outcomes of specific groups. Conflict theory can be defined by the conflict that occurs between the higher socioeconomic and lower socioeconomic classes. Individuals belonging to higher socioeconomic quartiles are able to access private health care and hence will...
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