Sociol economic factors that can affect health and illness

Essay by anniereyUniversity, Bachelor'sC+, February 2005

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In society today there are many social-economic factors that may influence an individual's health and illness. Thinking about health, it is acceptable in today's society that health is not a fixed thing. More aches and pains come as people get older and this is accepted as a normal part of ageing, but these aches and pains for a younger person are not accepted as normal.

"It has been argued by many sociologists that what has been considered to be normal in one society or in one period of history may be considered abnormal or healthy in another" (Moore 1996 p334).

The World Health Organisation defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. This definition has not been amended since 1948.

This piece of work will be looking at factors that may have an effect on a person's health and illness.

Social class is the socio-economic classification based on the occupation of the householder. The UK office of population census and surveys has five categories. Category one: professional, two: intermediate, three: skilled, four: semi-skilled and five: unskilled (Brooker 1996).

Research has shown that depending on social class there are considerable differences in mortality. Out of sixty-six major causes of death in men, sixty-two are more common in social class four and five than any other class. Sixty- four out of seventy major causes are more common in women who are married to social class four or five men. Research has also shown that if a person is born into poverty then his or her chances of suffering ill health and a shortened life span are greater than if he or she was born into prosperity. A baby born into a family where the father is unskilled is more...