Social Factors on Disability and Ill Health

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Social factors have a greater influence on how people experience ill-health and disability than biological ones. Discuss

The author of this assignment will look at societal factors and see if they have an impact on how people experience ill-health and disability aswell as looking at the biological factors. Academics often argue that societal factors have a much greater impact on things such as; the area you live in and how long life expectancy in that area is. Sociologist often see disability and ill-health as socially constructed whereas, the medical model see it as “disability with illness.” Can the way people live there lives have an affect on their health? The author of this assignment seeks to discuss all areas and compare them against the arguments of the biologists.

Firstly what is disability and ill-health? Disability can be anything that is physically disabling to a person, it may have effects on the way a person can live their life. It may control what movements they have, what they can see or what they can here and disability comes in completely different forms of severity. A disability is not only psychical though, its may be cognitive, mental, emotional and can even be a mix of all. It can be present from birth or a disability can form during a persons lifetime. Ill-health is different from a disability and is normally not something that lasts a lifetime and is a sign of poor health which can be treated. Firstly, looking from a sociologists perspective, the author will discuss social implications on health.

As the male of the household has always been known to be the bread-winner and the main financial support for the family, whilst the female stays at home to take care of children and household duties, it has become more stigmatised, common and acceptable for a female to admit to being unwell. Culturally, women are often expected to cope with an illness because of their domestic responsibilities. Bernard argued that: “women (married) and single men have the worst health, including mental health and often married women sacrifice their own well-being for husbands and families. Socioloigsts would argue that this could be because women spend more time at home than males tending to children, many living in bad or cramped housing conditions. Sociologists would often argue that lone parents are often more sustainable to disability and ill health as they are more likely to live in poverty.

Danny Dorling, (who is he), argues about social inequalities and how these have an affect. He states:

“A long running analysis of British Civial Servants the “Whitehall” studies has found that employment grade among these professionals is a strong predictor of health outcomes across all levels of their hierarchy.” (pg2)

He argues that the “ relationship with mortality is such that higher income in associated with lower mortality rates.”

Reasons for this could be that having a higher income can enable people to afford a healthier life-style. Individuals can afford luxuries such as gym memberships, private healthcare and to put their children through private education rather than mainstream schooling. Individuals can afford to live in nice housing, somewhere where the life expectancy is higher and housing conditions are better than people living in housing with damp problems which can therefore lead to a decrease in health.

In different geographical areas, different diseases exsist. Chronic diseases are more likely to exist in areas that are more run down and can be the main cause of premature death in babies. “People with better health move to areas where better health is enjoyed and whose with poor health remain.”

(all above reference danny dorling.org)

The joseph Roundtrree Foundation participates in research into the welfare of people in the United Kingdom. One of its reports, Being and becoming social exclusion and the onset of disability identifies some interesting points. It indentified that...
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