The Social Model of Health
When discussing ‘models of health’, it is imperative that we understand the meaning of health, illness and disease as they vary between different groups within society : ‘Health’ is being able to function normally within usual everyday routine. ‘Disease’ is the subjective experience of loss of health, such as the reporting of symptoms. ‘Illness’ is an umbrella term used to refer to the experience of disease plus illness. The social model of health looks at how society and our environment affect our everyday health and well-being. Human health is a social matter, not just an individual one. This includes factors such as social class, occupation, education, income and poverty, poor housing, poor diet, and pollution. A comprehensive approach to health promotion also requires changing the practices of social systems that have widespread effects on human health. The social model of health not only focuses on the individual, but the environment as well. This model is closely linked with positive definitions of health.
.A definition of health is that of Seedhouse (1988)
A person’s optimum state of health is equivalent to the state of the set of conditions which fulfil or enable a person to work to fulfil his or her realistic chosen and biological potentials. Some of these conditions are of the highest importance for all people. Others are variable dependent upon individual abilities and circumstances. Poor social and economic circumstances affect health throughout life. People further down the social ladder usually run at least twice the risk of serious illness and premature death as those near the top. The effects are not confined to the poor, the social gradient in health runs right across society, so that even among middle-class office workers, lower ranking staffs suffer much more disease and earlier death than higher ranking staff. Both material and psychosocial causes contribute to these differences and their effects extend to...
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