In this assessment I will be identifying three different social groups and explain how their health may differ from the general population; I will also be using sociological perspectives to discuss different patterns and trends of health and illness. Gender- “Women live longer but suffer from more health problems in their lifetime, and many are specific to the female gender” Agnes Miles, Women, Health and Medicine. According to the stats, women suffer from more health problems during their lifetime, but men die younger due to their lifestyle.
More women than men suffer with chronic sickness, 57% mental hospital disturbances are women, 2/3 of the 4 million populations are disabled women and in general women see doctors more frequently than men, also women are more likely to be admitted for: emotional disturbance; neurotic disorder; depression and senile dementia. The reasons for these stats could be that women have demands of looking after other people’s health such as their children, demands of domestic labour, poor employment conditions, exposure to poor housing and greater exposure to poverty.
Women also may have a lot of stress to deal with which could make them ill due to their lifestyle. Men however, may have the same amount of illnesses as women but decide not to visit doctors, nurses etc. due to feeling embarrassed, whereas women do. Men have a shorter life expectancy as they are perceived to live a more dangerous lifestyle than women. Their jobs could be more dangerous than women, such as builders, electricians and fire fighters, where their lives could be at risk. Men also ignore illnesses or symptoms due to feeling too embarrassed to go to the doctors.
Men are also perceived to drink and smoke more than women and eat the wrong foods which could take a toll on their health. Functionalists would argue that women are ‘shock absorbers’ in the family, and that they provide all the emotional support to the family but no one realises the effect that it may have on the women. Social Class- Lower social class individuals or families, may have worse health due to the circumstances they live in. Evidence suggests that living in poor housing can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular and respiratory disease as well as to anxiety and depression.
Problems such as damp, mould, excess cold and structural defects which increase the risk of an accident also present hazards to health. Lower class people could have decreased health due to the circumstances they live in, these circumstances could be poor housing conditions, which could mean their house could be damp or cold, poor living conditions which could mean the individual or family are unemployed or don’t earn enough money to support their family with food, water, electricity, heat and shelter which would drastically cause problems to their health.
Those with low incomes are more likely to suffer from poor mental health and poverty effectively causing or contributing to poor mental health. Observationally, both individual and neighborhood deprivation increase the risk of poor general and mental health. Individuals with mental health problems may have a problem becoming employed as having mental illness has a number of adverse effects on the ability to earn: When unwell, it is more difficult to study and to achieve qualifications.
It is more difficult to get a job – mental illness carries a heavy social stigma. It is more difficult to hold down a job – a person with mental illness may need intermittent and unpredictable time off when the illness needs more intense treatment. Therefore if individuals who live in poverty become ill with physical illness or a mental illness then their chance to become employed would be decreased and their chance to bring themselves out of poverty would be very little.
Individuals or families on a low income may also not be able to afford the medical attention they need, therefore if they ever do become ill enough for medical attention or medical advice then they may not be able to afford it. Age- Elderly people may be unhealthier then the rest of the general population simply because of their age. As you get older, your immune system may weaken and the amount of illnesses you get may increase. However, as elderly people have a weakened immune system then they may find it harder to fight off the illness or infection.
If elderly people have a trip or fall, then more damage to their body may happen as their bones are weakened, this could lead to serious injury of fatality from a fall. Young child also tend to catch more illnesses then the rest of the general population as their immune system isn’t as strong, however they are more capable to fight off illnesses and infections. Young children also spend a lot of time with other children, therefore infections and diseases spread quickly. Young children also tend to put things in their mouths (such as toys) which could easily be infected and is an easy way for infections to spread.