Sociology of Health and Health Care
Posted by Winnie Melda on March 28th, 2019
In the current position, defining health is normally in reference to the degree to which an individual’s mental, physical as well as the social wellbeing. The definition offers the suggestion that health is normally multidimensional concept. Even though the three dimensions typically influence each other, there is the possibility that an individual is in good physical health but have a poor mental health state. Medicine is normally in reference to the social institution that tries to diagnose, prevent as well as treat illnesses with the intention of promoting health in the diverse dimensions (Collyer, 2013). The reference to the institution is normally huge, involving millions of people who include nurses, physicians, therapists, technicians among others. The term healthcare normally refers to the provision of the medical services with the intention of diagnosing, preventing as well as treating of the various health records.
The sociology of health assesses the interaction between the society and health. Additionally is evaluating how social life impacts on the mortality and morbidity rates. Medicine is normally regarded as a social institution whose core function is for the restoration as well as improvement of health and is thus a critical faction of the health system. Historically, the care associated with the individuals health used to be the responsibility that was shouldered by self-taught healers, as well as their immediate families (Whitehead & Kurz, 2008). The assessment by sociology into health and healthcare mainly encompasses three principal clusters. With the development of medicine in the context of a few specially educated practitioners, the responsibility relating to the provision of health care shifted from the family to the state. At the time, it was the state which was employing the professional health providers. A health system is normally in reference to the innate organization of resources with the intention of delivering adequate health services which are able to meet the population requirements. Thus, the success of a health system follows the availability of staff, information, funds, supplies, communication, transport as well as the entire direction and guidance (Conrad, 2008).
The sociology aspects normally differ from reference to medical sociology in the sense that this sociology assesses health in the context of the social institutions as the family, employment, and schools. The sociology in this context limits the concern it has to the relationship between the patient and the practitioner as well as the function that the health professionals have in the society (Weitz, 2013). The sociology of health, as well as healthcare, encompasses the reasons as to why we seek the specific medical attention as well as the diverse models of medical assistance. A Long time ago, the enjoyment or failure to enjoy the good health was normally attributed to the natural as well as biological factors. Since then, the sociologists have been able to demonstrate that the spreading of diseases is greatly regulated by the factors such as the socioeconomic status of the individuals. Additionally the spread of the ailments in normally as a result of the ethnic as well as traditional beliefs coupled with other cultural factors. On the occasions when medical research indicate the ability to gather statistics relating to a disease, availability of a sociological perspective relating to an illness offers insight relating to the causes. It additionally offers the demographics relating to who contracted the ailment as well as became ill (Petersen & Wilkinson, 2015).
The various social perspectives that are in relation to the health, as well as healthcare, include the functionalist approach. The perspective normally lays emphasize on the fact that good health, as well as effective medical care, are fundamental to the ability of the society to function. It follows that on the occasion that the members of the society will have ill health, they are going to be impaired their ability to carry out their roles in the society (Aizenberg, 2014). If numerous members of the society are ill, the stability as well as functioning is going to suffer. The possibility of having a poor medical care system is additionally dysfunctional for the society since the individuals who fill encounter greater impediments in becoming healthy. Additionally there is the possibility that the healthy individuals are also going to become ill.
According to Parson, in order for an individual to be said as being legitimately sick, there were several expectations that were expected to be satisfied. First, the sick person should not have caused problems with their own health care. Should we be eating food that has high fat and consequently become obese and finally have a heart attack, we induce lesser sympathy than if we had practiced good nutrition as well as maintaining a good weight (Petersen & Wilkinson, 2015). On the occasion, that an individual is driving while drunk and smashes into a tree, the sympathy is normally much less that if he just skidded off the road while sober. Secondly, the sick people should have the desire to get well. On the occasion, that they do not want to get well and even worse if perceived to fake their illness, they seize to be considered as being legitimately ill. The significant others as well as the individuals who know the society normally ignores him completely. Thirdly, the sick people should have their illnesses confirmed by their healthcare provider and abide by the expert advice in their bid to become well. On the occasion that a sick person fails to abide, he/she is deemed to lose the right they have in relation to them performing the sick role (Collyer, 2013).
Parson posts that should all the expectations be met, the sick are normally treated as sick by their families, friends, as well as the other people that they know. Consequently, such individuals are normally considered exempted from undertaking their regular obligations to all the people known to them. According to Parson, the physicians have several roles which they have to undertake. Firstly they should diagnose the individual’s illness, make a decision on how to treat it as well as assist the individual in becoming well. In order to accomplish the task, they require the patient’s cooperation via answering the questions by the physician accurately and consequently follow their instructions. According to Parson, the physician-patient relationship is normally hierarchical in that the physician provides the orders via the advice and instructions while the patient abides and follows those (Whitehead & Kurz, 2008).
The conflict perspective lays emphasis on the inequality of in relation to the quality of health as well as the delivery of the healthcare. The inequalities in the society along the social classes, ethnicity, gender and race are normally replicated in our health as well as the healthcare (Aizenberg, 2014). The people coming from the disadvantaged social settings are normally the ones who are becoming ill and the moment they become ill, the inadequacy of the health care complicate the process of becoming well. The approach criticizes the efforts by the physicians to regulate the practice of medicine as well as defining the diverse social issues as being medical issues. The theory posits that the reason is due to the fact that the physicians posit that their financial situation is meant to improve the occasion they succeed in classifying the social problems as medical ones (Conrad, 2008). Additionally they ensure that they have monopolies the treatment of such social problems. In this context, the physicians could perceive their alternatives are ineffective, inadequate as well as dangerous but hold the thought that the alternatives are financially detrimental to their practice.
An example is of the women who normally receive help from the physicians, psychologists as well as psychiatrists among other professionals. Even though, the care is normally helpful, defining eating disorders as a medical issue provides a good income source for the professions who is treating the woman (Weitz, 2013). The professional ensures that the cultural roots of the problem are overlooked in relation to the society’s standard of beauty for the women. The other issue that is used to illustrate the perspective follows the fact that human history has it that midwives used to be the people who used to help the pregnant women give birth to their babies. In the 19th century, I follow that physicians posed the claim that they were the best suited and trained that the midwives and consequently won the legislation to deliver the babies.
The symbolic interactions perspective emphasizes on the fact that health, as well as illness, are normally social constructions. The implication of this assertion is the fact that the diverse mental, as well as physical conditions normally have little objective reality but are regarded as healthy or ill conditions if the society defines them such. ADHD is normally used as an example as it is in relation to behaviors that were not originally regarded as an illness. Addition in the late 1800, opium was normally used as its derivatives were being used in numerous over the counter products. It was not considered as being a major legal or health problem. The banning and consequent labeling of it as a drug followed the prejudicial against the Chinese Americans (Collyer, 2013). Currently, the attempt to define obesity as a health risk makes up for the tandems of the perspective. The movements for the “fat pride” mainly made up of the heavy individuals argue that obesity being a health risk is an exaggeration as well as inciting the society to discriminate against them. Although there are critics who posit that the discrimination is unfortunate, they contend that the movement is over-reaching their efforts to minimize the risks associated with obesity. The approach additionally offers vital studies relating to interaction between the healthcare professionals as well as the patients. While being conscious or not, the physicians are able to manage the situation in reference to the displaying of their medical knowledge, as well as authority (Petersen & Wilkinson, 2015).
Aizenberg, L. (2014). Facilitating Indigenous women's community participation in healthcare: A critical review from the social capital theory. Health Sociology Review, 23(2), 91-101. doi:10.5172/hesr.2014.23.2.91
Collyer, F. (2013). Schools of sociology? The structuring of sociological knowledge in the sociology of health and medicine since 1960. Health Sociology Review, 22(4), 338-352. doi:10.5172/hesr.2013.22.4.338
Conrad, P. (2008). The medicalization of society: On the transformation of human conditions into treatable disorders. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press; Rao, A., & Seaton, M. (2010). The way of boys: Promoting the social and emotional development of young boys. New York, NY: Harper Paperbacks.
Petersen, A., & Wilkinson, I. (2015). Editorial introduction: The sociology of hope in contexts of health, medicine, and healthcare. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal For The Social Study Of Health, Illness & Medicine, 19(2), 113-118. doi:10.1177/1363459314555378
Weitz, R. (2013). The sociology of health, illness, and health care: A critical approach (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Wadsworth.
Whitehead, K., & Kurz, T. (2008). Saints, sinners and standards of femininity: Discursive constructions of anorexia nervosa and obesity in women’s magazines. Journal of Gender Studies, 17, 345–358.
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About the AuthorWinnie Melda
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