Sociology analyses the social determinants of health and utilises a number of concepts and theories in order to understand health and illness. Draw on two sociological theories to explain the social determinants of health and discuss how this differs from the medical model.
Role of Sociology in Healthcare
Sociology is a diverse field of study. It directly correlates with health in many aspects. Sociology can be defined as the study and in-depth analysis of how humans behave in their surroundings and with their fellow beings. Areas such as development and organization of human beings are important in the study. The society has various misconstrues that need to be addressed. Healthcare is defined as the betterment of the condition of a human being through medicine (Scambler, 2017). This is done to improve the condition of the individual or to prevent further agony. This paper will focus on the role of sociology in healthcare while using two sociological theories to explain the social determinants of health and discuss the biomedical model.
The role of sociology in healthcare addresses the relation between the two. This is done by focusing on the institutions of the society which include the family, jobs, and education. It dissects these areas to assess their impact on health (Preacher, & Kelley 2011). Low levels of education of a society can be an impediment to better healthcare while high levels can create awareness to better health standards of the people. Different cultural practices of a society also determine the state of healthcare of individuals. Retrogressive cultural practices like female genital mutilation only lower the mortality rate of women in the societies that embrace it (Pinxten, & Lievens 2014). The world has diverse societal factors that lead to the spread of different illnesses systematically which differ in different demographic locations. This will be seen further in the paper and how the study of these patterns assist in highlighting the role of sociology.
Symbolic interactionism is a theory that explains how human beings interact with each other profusely through the use of symbols. It also shows the importance of generating meaning through understanding different symbols and how they are used (Mackenbach, 2011). Social interactions help in understanding the perception of how they interact with each other. Key elements in symbolic interaction include language which assists to develop and interpret meaning. Different language dialects will make it difficult for the individuals to develop the meaning of the symbols. An example of a symbol is a handshake, it symbolizes the warmth and welcoming attributes of comfort between the two individuals. It shows a level of trust that is sealed by the firm grip of each other's palms.
The history of conflict theory highlighted how humans were weak and lazy and the only way that he could be made to work was to ensure that he is punished for his misdoings. In ancient times, leaders who were chosen and eventually ended up being disliked by their people were overthrown. This was due to either corruption by those in power or injustice to their people. Some monarchies were overthrown violently through conflict (Jones, & Williams 2017). However, Karl Max saw the conflict as the fight among different societal classes for resources to attain economic nourishment. Conflict theory addresses the disagreements brought about by everyday activities. The wealthy are however at the top of the chain while they exploit those below in order to attain their goals. The fight of the poor to expand their economic freedom contradicts that of the wealthy.
Using modern day examples social determinants of health have taken different forms. It is without a doubt that these determinants have shaped the prevention and treatment of different illnesses. The theories above have defined how they are intricate in people's everyday activities. Conflict theory touches on social stratification. This is where urban and modern day society has formed hierarchies that are classified through wealth, power and prestige (Garthwaite, Smith, Bambra, & Pearce 2016). The poor have no say in matters that they have no influence on. In the health care system, insurance policies that cater to long terminal illnesses and/or chronic diseases are not affordable to the poor. The bourgeoisie who can afford such policies has set high payment rates and chosen the best medical facilities for themselves and their families. Drugs from drugstores that are distributed to citizens are done in selective methods with preference being given to those who can afford them. Analyzing patterns of wealth distribution around the world, it is easy to conclude that areas most affected by illnesses are highly populated by the poor. Healthcare facilities need funding either from the government, non-governmental organizations or international funders. Areas of ongoing conflict like the Middle East have been left out. Research shows that Afghanistan has 0.5 beds per 1000 people while having 7.26 doctors for every 10000 people. This data highlights the plight of the people in that area (Frohlich, & Abel 2014). The economic stability which is a societal issue is highly influential in the improvement of healthcare in Afghanistan. Better environment to build schools to increase the number of doctors, nurses and midwives would improve the condition of healthcare.
Feminism discloses how sexual orientation identifies with power and is relatively like the contention hypothesis. This features the predicament of sexual orientation in the general public. It clarifies the man centric strength in the general public and the separation of ladies as the weaker sex in all viewpoints. Ladies here are segregated profoundly because of their gender. Anyway different types of woman's rights have come up, for instance, the black woman's rights which features the issues looked by black ladies. Women's liberation is additionally impacted by a couple of social determinants that fully impact the wellbeing. Tending to the issue of education, a few communities don't offer need to the training of young ladies. While young ladies are given a little education, young men are taught to college levels (Forbes, and Wainwright 2011). Such segregation is retrogressive to the general public and influences healthcare specifically. Information of how to anticipate ailments particularly for the lady is essential.
They need the knowledge to take care of themselves and their young children between ages 0-5 which is a delicate age for the life of a human being. They need to know about antenatal care, vaccinations, and nutrition. Feminism should also be addressed in the area of employment. Women have come out stronger and brighter in courses that were contextualized as ‘only for men'. They have excelled in mechanical and electrical engineering courses, in sports like soccer and athletics, and in leadership positions where they have risen to head their countries as presidents (Cockerham, Rütten, & Abel 2017). States like Croatia, Britain, Germany, and Venezuela are headed by women who are at the height of decision making.
The Relation between Sociological Theories and Social Determinants of Health
Women in these positions can directly influence healthcare by creating awareness and those in government can pass health policies to cater to their fellow women. An employed woman is more likely to provide better healthcare to her children due to the availability of resources at her disposal. She is able to provide nutritious food for her children which strengthens the immune system (Carpiano, 2016). Cases of malnutrition are therefore avoided. A standard shelter is accorded for her and her family. Poor housing leads to contamination of diseases such as cholera due to water and malaria due to mosquitos.
This model can be defined as the biological process of ensuring a body is at its full functionality. It does not consider any other models like sociological or environmental. This model fully relies on healthcare professionals like doctors, nurses, surgeons, gynecologists among others to administer care for the patient until his/her full recovery. This model looks for biological reasons for illnesses that a patient is facing and how to treat it. Doctors go to school for years to study the causes, symptoms, prevention, and diagnosis of these diseases (Bell, Hu, Orrange, & Kravitz 2011). They then use that knowledge to patients who are ill. The medicine which has been manufactured from research is administered to patients for the betterment of their health. The health professionals do not offer anything else outside of their profession.
This model is viewed as unique in relation to the sociological points of view. It is productive because of past research from known researchers in various fields of medication. Results likewise demonstrate that most patients who have taken after the solutions surrendered have finished being free of the infections that they were experiencing. This model, be that as it may, has its misfortunes. On the off chance that a patient experienced cholera and was dealt with yet at the same time returned to a similar domain where he/she got cholera from, it is more probable that re-defilement may happen (Abel, 2012). In spite of the model restoring the malady, it doesn't take care of the hidden issues that are causing the ailment. Societal components like legitimate lodging, cleanliness, sanitation and clean water are as yet the supporting elements for better wellbeing.
From this paper, it is important to note that social theories and their determinants are important in figuring out how to improve healthcare. It is, however, critical to include other areas of consideration like biomedical and environmental because they work simultaneously for the betterment of health. Each aspect is unique and significant and should be included in future studies.
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Carpiano, R. M. (2016). Toward a neighborhood resource-based theory of social capital for health: Can Bourdieu and sociology help?. Social science & medicine, 62(1), 165-175.
Cockerham, W. C., Rütten, A., & Abel, T. (2017). Conceptualizing contemporary health lifestyles: moving beyond Weber. Sociological Quarterly, 38(2), 321-342.
Forbes, A., & Wainwright, S. P. (2011). On the methodological, theoretical and philosophical context of health inequalities research: a critique. Social science & medicine, 53(6), 801-816.
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Scambler, G. (2017). Social structure and the production, reproduction and durability of health inequalities. Social Theory & Health, 5(4), 297-315.
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