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Social Model of Health

Discuss About The Sociology Health Professionals Management?

The social and medical models of health provide divergent views of health and disease. In the present essay, an attempt has been made to discuss the main characteristics of social and medical model and also to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each in describing health and disease. In this context, health can be considered as the state of being well and fit and also being in a state of mental sanity. Therefore, if a person is in a position to perform his daily functions like going to work or taking care of his household, it can be said that such a person is healthy. It has been found in a number of studies that health is generally described by the common people as being the absence of illness (Seale, 2008 p67). But the meaning of being healthy is different for different people, and much has been said and written regarding the different concepts of the people related with health. In this context, some of the perceptions of the common people are based on pragmatism where health is considered as a relative phenomenon that is experienced and evaluated on the basis of what considered being reasonable to expect by an individual, keeping in view, their age, social status and medical condition. For these people, the meaning of being healthy is not to have any health problem, which may interfere with their routine lives (Standish, 2008).


The social model of health emerged during the mid 20th century in view of the rising dissatisfaction with the dominant medical model of health. As a result of the pre-occupation with illness and disease, it was less in a position to deal with any positive concept of health. According to the medical ideology, the individual was considered in a mechanistic way, which justified the increasing use of medical technologies and as a result of which, the use of other therapies was precluded and similarly the significance related with preventive medicine or positive health was also diminished. The result was that many experts started to consider the medical profession as a threat to health. The result was that in the modern times, more suffering is caused by depression, disability, infection and other particular estrogenic diseases as compared to all traffic or industry accidents and pain, death and illness have been transformed from a personal challenge to the form of a technical problem (Willies  Reynolds and Keleher, 2009). The medical practice is expropriating the power of the individuals to deal with their human condition. Anonymously and became a source of newly developed un-health. The significance of health, simply in terms of the absence of disease has resulted in encouraging thinking regarding only two categories, health and disease (Marshall et al., 2009).

Medical Model of Health

The theory of feminism related with healthcare is based on the feminist theories that apply to health and healthcare of women. The purpose of this model is to bring a change in the way health care is delivered to individual woman and at the same time to seek a social transformation. These suggestions that have been given in order to maintain symmetry in traditional power relationship include doing away with social, physical and personal barriers and also attentively listen to the stories of the patients. It is a part of the access to information that conducive atmosphere should be created for teaching and learning and also to help the patients in accessing other sources of information (Cockerham, 2005). The key idea in feminist practice is shared decision-making. This can be achieved when the patients are empowered and given knowledge regarding their health care needs. Social change requires the ever vigilant clinician, who is aware of the latest literature for the purpose of critically analyzing the results of research studies and the interpretation of their colleagues regarding these studies.


We were meant to believe that a utopia of disease-free and long life can be produced by science. This means that the scientists were only looking for the magic pill. Although, it was that the most vocal critics of the medical model of health had. Willfully ignored the contribution made by modern science in this field, it was a truth that the claims related with the unique truth of biomedicine have been weakened as a result of the loss of faith in scientific objectivity and also due to the distrust in Frankenstein technology that may become out of control and all this promoted a new movement seeking a new model, which was generally known as social health model (Collyer, 2010).

In case of the social model of health, social constructs and relativity are imbibed in the approach towards self. The social model tends to define and redefine health continuously. According to this model, health is viewed differently among the individuals, cultures, groups and times. Some of the advocates of the social model of health have extensively written regarding the role played by sickness in different societies as it helps in determining the structure of and the functionality of society (Cockerham, 2005).

In case of the social model of health, several differences of emphasis and incorporated although it needs to be mentioned than this concept is more than simply recognizing that social factors like go with the needs to be included in the model related with the causes of ill health. There is a different construction present in the social model, as it locates the biological processes in their social context. Similarly, in case of the social model, a person is considered as a whole and not as a series of separate bodily systems (Connell, 2005). In this way, it can be said that the social model of health is ballistic and organic instead of being reductionist, mechanical method. In case of a mechanical system, it acts in accordance with its programming and instructions or according to natural laws.

Feminism and Healthcare

Under the social model of health, physical as well as mental health can be considered and it also includes the widest sphere to take part in active live. In the same way, the social health model also allows a subtle discrimination among the persons who are able to lead productive lives even if they suffer from some kind of physical impairment. In the same way, another disadvantage that is present in case of the social model of them is that in these cases, there is a risk of excessive wideness and to incorporate all of the life. Hence, a clear distinction is not made in this case between the state of being healthy, and the consequences of being healthy. In the same way, these models do not maintain a distinction between health and its determinants.


According to the other jury, medical profession is to take it as a social institution and therefore it is inalienable from the influences, values and pressures that are present in the society in which the profession operates. In the same way, due to the reason that health has been described in several different ways, most of the parts of this definition are based on the ideals of normal and of considering health in contrast of illness or disease. However, it has been seen in practice that always the definition of health has laid in the territory of the persons who have defined its opposite. These are the healers or the medical practitioners, who considered it as a body of practical knowledge or a science.

Similarly, in view of the fact that medicine is one of the major systems of society, it is obvious that these definitions which will become a part of law and administration, even if the extent to which the lay models are going to add on to diverge from these ideas is significant for an individual regarding their perception of health.

As the medical model of health has been based on the Cartesian theory of body being a machine with disorders can be repaired or parts of the organism can be replaced, holism has mentioned the opinion that the whole cannot be explained by the sum of these parts, in the same way as health cannot be described with the help of the list of risk factors. The whole system is involved in every disturbance that takes place. It is worth mentioning at this point that humans are living networks who have been formed by cognitive processes, proposing intentions and values and not by merely interacting components.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Social and Medical Models

Along with the development of the social model of health among the people, there was also a rising enthusiasm regarding the alternative therapies, which tended to lie on holistic theories. Slowly, the two integrated with each other to some extent under the mainstream (Richmond, 2005).


In order to achieve a comprehensive understanding of health, a person is required to consider the phenomenon from different premise of the definition of health, as considering only one aspect may not be able to provide the full answer to the inquiry regarding health at a particular point of time. Hence, it is significant to consider the different aspects of health when a judgment and decision has to be made regarding the health status of a person.

It can be briefly continued in the end that it is obvious that the medical model of health can be most easily described through the absence of disease, even if, at the same time, the model is also compatible with other positive definitions of health in terms of the equilibrium of general functioning. On the other hand, in case of the social model of health, there is a positive state of well-being and wholeness. This is associated with the absence of illness, disease or any mental or physical impairment, even if it cannot be completely explained by it.

It can also be stated in this contends that the concepts of health and illness are not completely balanced. Even if the absence of disease can be considered as a part of health, however, health is something more than the absence of illness.

References

Cockerham, W. (2005) ‘Medical Sociology and Sociological Theory’ in Cockerham, W. (ed) The Blackwell Companion to Medical Sociology Blackwell: Victoria, pp. 3-22.

Collyer, F.M. (2010) ‘Origins and Canons: Medicine and the History of Sociology’ History of the Human Sciences 23(2):86-108.

Connell, R. (2005) ‘Australia and World Sociology’ in Germov, J. and McGee, T.R. (eds) Histories of Australian Sociology Melbourne University Press: Carlton. pp. 3-27.

Marshall, H.; Robinson, P.; Germov, J. and Clark, E. (2009) Teaching Sociology in Australia: A Report to the Australian Learning and Teaching Council Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations: Canberra.

Richmond, K. (2005) ‘Sociology’s Roller-Coaster Ride in Australia’ in Germov, J. and McGee, T. (eds) Histories of Australian Sociology Melbourne University Press, pp. 57-64.

Seale, C. (2008) ‘Mapping The Fields of Medical Sociology: A Comparative Analysis of Journals’ Sociology of Health and Illness 30(5):67

Standish, A. (2008) Australia Through Women’s Eyes Australian Scholarly Publishing: North Melbourne.

Willis, E. (Eileen); Reynolds, L. And Keleher, H. (2009) Understanding The Australian Health Care System Churchill Livingstone Elsevier: Sydney

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