Sociologists Approaches to Illness

Topics: Health care, Medicine, HIV Pages: 3 (883 words) Published: March 13, 2009
Approaches to Illness The structural-functionalist and the conflict perspective approaches to illness differ in many of the following ways. “The structural-functionalist perspective is concerned with how illness, health, and health care affect and are affected by other aspects of social life (Mooney, Knox, Schacht 36).” To show how illness and health are affected by other aspects of life, one who supports the structural functionalist view will look for social patterns that give explanation for illness and health. For example, instead of looking at reasons for suicide. One who uses the structural functionalist approach will look for social patterns that give explanations for suicide rates. The structural functionalist view also focuses on how changes in society affect health and illness. An example of this would be an increase of modernization and industrialization. An increase in both of these contributes to environmental pollution. Environmental pollution is a major health concern because it can negatively affect the nervous system, reproductive system, liver, kidneys, heart, and blood. According to the structural-functionalist view, when the state of health is changed, this leads to a social change. An example of this is the increasing rise of HIV and AIDS in the United States of America. This emergence resulted in the gay male population to unite and rally gay rights and activists. Another example of this is the emergence of tobacco smoke. This is the greatest cause of disease and death in the United States and in other countries. As a result of this, California, Delaware, New York, Connecticut, and Main ban smoking in the workplace, restaurant, and bars. This helps to decrease the number of disease and death. The structural-functionalist perspective views the health care system as a social organization whose purpose is to maintain the well-being of members of society and return people to their normal social roles. Health care systems provide people with...
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