Critically discuss the effects of psychological and sociological variables on health and illness

Essay by wozzlebearA-, September 2008

download word file, 12 pages 5.0 1 reviews

Downloaded 135 times

Critically discuss the effects of psychological and sociological variables on health and illnessThe purpose of this essay is to look at health and illness, identifying the sociological and psychological variables which affect them. In order to explore this area, I will discuss the contribution of sociological and psychological variables, comparing their meaning and highlighting their strengths and weaknesses. I will also be discussing the link between the psychological and somatic states in health whilst also providing a case study of a person experiencing sociological and psychological variables with an explanation of how their health has been affected. This will be concluded with my own conclusions, drawn from discussion.

Inequalities in health are of concern to everyone. Important differences in mortality rates are found between different genders, people living in different environments and ethnic minorities, but the main differences in mortality are found within different social classes. 'In all European countries with available data, mortality rates are higher among those in less advantaged socio-economic positions, regardless of whether socio-economic position is indicated by educational level, occupational class, or income level'.


Poverty and poor health can become a vicious circle from birth to death. Children born into disadvantaged families tend to have lower birth weights due to harmful influences in pregnancy for example, smoking and drug taking. Underprivileged people are at higher risks of chronic stress which can lead to a number of complications for example raised blood pressure. 'The disadvantaged tend to be more frequently subjected to fatal illnesses cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and their chances of surviving these tend to be lower' (

Mental illness is more likely in lower socio-economic groups; this is due to a higher exposure to stresses and strains and/or a lack of coping resources. People with a severe mental illness have the same range...