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The Social And Economic Status And The Health Literacy Add in library

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How might the socioeconomic status and health literacy of your chosen group affect their access to good quality health care?


The social and economic status and the health literacy of the disabled people and how it affects their access to good and quality health care


The socio-economic status is generally defined as the combination of a number of vital necessities such house, profession and education. With regard to the person with disability the socio economic status is extremely poor for a wide number of reasons (Tolson, 2008). These people have a limited number of opportunities for income and they also have a lot of medical expenses. The entire family of the disabled people is affected as a result of the drawbacks.

On the other hand health literacy can be considered as the capability to read and understand the use of information for making proper health decisions and follow the relevant instructions for the treatment. Research has shown that nearly fifty percent of patients generally do not understand the primary information related to healthcare (Tolson, 2008). When the health literacy decreases it minimizes the success rate of treatment and further increases the chances of error in medicine. In order to improve health literacy among people there has been a number of interventions that includes teach back methods, encouraging of patient questions and making improved health behaviors among people (Horridge and Wolff 2014).

The given study is about the health literacy and social status of the people who are disabled and the conditions relating to the access to health care of these disabled people. The study explores the different avenues of the conditions of the disabled in the country and what are the health care problems they face as compared to the other non disabled patients (Sechoaro, Scrooby and Koen 2014). This study is a critical analysis of the status of the disabled in the country with regard to health care.


Socio-economic status and health literacy of the disabled people

Research has stated that among every five Australians at least one of them is disabled. Disabilities can occur at any point in any person’s lifetime and among the kinds of disabilities some of them are visible while some have been latent.

This happens irrespective of age, race, sex and social or economic backgrounds. However, people who are disabled are generally not recognized as the population group that is given priority in public health and practices relating to it.

Even though there exists a huge population of disabled people in Australia there is very less evidence that shows this fact. The existing documents do not show that the health of the people with disability is bad as compared to the non disabled people having other diseases such as mental or oral health problems or people suffering from diabetes or obesity (Houghton 2012). Medical literature comprises of a lot of materials which elaborates about the medical conditions of disability and the causes of disability (The Lancet 2011). It has been observed that the differences in health is generally determined socially and are not related to the characteristics of disability in particular.

With regard to the social conditions of these category of people it can be observed that they generally live in poverty, have insecure homes, hardly participate actively in work or education, and in most cases they are socially excluded. They also likely to face a lot of discrimination for their disability and according to WHO they also do not receive appropriate healthcare.

This report defines disability and provides an overview of information regarding the health of people with disabilities and the underlying social determinants, using the population-based data that is available.


Statistics state that in the year 2009, there are about four million people that amount to around eighteen percent who are found to be disabled in Australia. In another survey conducted in 2007 it was found that around forty six percent of the people are of the age between fifteen and sixty four who usually have severe issues of disability and they have reported to have very poor health as compared to those people who do not have disability (Kmietowicz, 2005). The non-disabled people in this regard are five percent. One of the vital causes of disability in Australia is the different diseases such as diabetes, cancer and other cardiovascular diseases and it has been observed that these diseases are increasing in a steady manner. Also people who have high dietary behavior also are more likely to have disability (Kmietowicz, 2005).

It has been proven from research studies that the health of the disabled people is extremely bad as compared to that of the non-disabled population. It is known that people who are disabled would generally have a health condition or any impairment and hence the presence of a difference in the status of health is must. Nevertheless, the problem arises when the difference in the conditions arise which are not even remotely related to the health conditions or disability. The available data on health care of the disabled people is primarily of the adults within the age group of fifteen and sixty four and more precisely about the severe disabilities (The Lancet 2011). With the health of the people having disabilities the health and success of the careers are also related and it is this group that has a very low well being amongst all other groups in Australia (Munford 2005).

According to research conducted around thirty-five percent of people having disabilities are observed to have poor health conditions as compared to only five percent of the people who do not have any difficulties. People who have very severe disabilities are generally reported with extremely bad self-reported health and research states that the percentage of such people who generally report of poor health is approximately forty five percent (Godziek, 2009). Regarding the mental health of the disabled people it is generally observed that such people have very poor mental health as compared to those people who have experienced the death of their spouse in a period less than a year (Drum, Krahn and Bersani, 2009).


The young Australian adults or adolescents having disabilities usually are observing to have extremely reduced psychological health when compared to that of the non-disabled young adults and adolescents where the percent is only eight percent. Around one fourth of the people who have intellectual disability who seek professional support for any mental issue is approximately eleven percent as compared to the general population (Healey 2010). These people who have intellectual disability are the ones who live in depressed state. Disabled people having psychological distress are estimated to be around twenty-five percent of the total population whereas the general population having such psychological distress is approximately five percent.

Considering the social determinants of health with regard to the people with disabilities it can be observed that these people are the most disadvantaged group in the continent of Australia. One of the main contributors towards the extremely poor health of these disabled people is the social and the economic disadvantage of these people.

In most cases, these people have very poor income rate and they mostly live in very poor conditions as compared to those who are not disabled. The average incomes of these disabled people are also very low as compared to those disabled groups present in other countries.

A survey in the year 2003 stated that the median personal income for the disabled people is approximately $225 whereas the people not having disabilities earn approximately $480 in a week. The income of the carers of the disabled people is approximately $237 in a week as compared to $407 who does not have any such roles.


Further there are several reasons for this inequality in the income of the disabled people and their carers. One of the basic factors is the education of the disabled people. However studies have shown that disabled people have very low incomes despite having the same level of education as compared to that of the non-disabled people (Grover and Soldatic 2013). Among all the OECD countries it has been observed that Australia is one of the lowest relative income rates of the disabled people amongst the twenty-seven countries. There are countries such as Mexico where the income rates are not different for disabled and non disabled people.


From the above discussion it is quite clear that the status of the disabled people in Australia is extremely poor. With regard to their social or economic status or their health literacy these disabled people are very much deprived of the basic facilities that are available to the disabled in most of the other OECD countries.

Evidence has revealed that as a result of experiencing deprivation continuously and being discriminated regularly further tends to increases the health problems of these people and also increasingly reduces their chances of employment and social participation. Hence it is extremely necessary to immediately take appropriate steps for improving the conditions of these disabled people. The health literacy and the socio-economic status of the people should improve and these people should be brought at par with the general people.



Drum, C., Krahn, G. and Bersani, H. (2009). Disability and public health. Washington, D.C.: American Public Health Association.

Godziek, S. (2009). MDG 6--What about Disabled People?. Journal of Health Management, 11(1), pp.109-126.

Grover, Chris, and Karen Soldatic. 2013. 'Neoliberal Restructuring, Disabled People And Social (In)Security In Australia And Britain'. Scandinavian Journal Of Disability Research 15 (3): 216-232. doi:10.1080/15017419.2012.724446.

Healey, Justin. 2010. Disability Rights And Awareness. Thirroul, N.S.W.: The Spinney Press.

Horridge, Karen A., and Toni Wolff. 2014. 'Palliative Care For Disabled Children And Young People'.Paediatrics And Child Health 24 (8): 343-350. doi:10.1016/j.paed.2014.01.006.

Houghton, A. 2012. 'What Should Public Health Be Doing For Disabled People, And Why Aren't We?'.Journal Of Public Health 35 (1): 2-3. doi:10.1093/pubmed/fds080.

Kmietowicz, Z. (2005). Poorer health among disabled people to be investigated. BMJ, 330(7481), pp.8-0.

Munford, R. 2005. 'Book Review: Constructions Of Disability: Researching The Interface Between Disabled And Non-Disabled People'. International Social Work 48 (3): 362-363. doi:10.1177/002087280504800313.

Sechoaro, Ernest J., Belinda Scrooby, and Daleen P. Koen. 2014. 'The Effects Of Rehabilitation On Intellectually-Disabled People – A Systematic Review'. Health SA Gesondheid 19 (1). doi:10.4102/hsag.v19i1.693.

The Lancet,. 2011. 'Improvement Of Care For Young Disabled People In Australia'. The Lancet 378 (9789): 373. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(11)61190-2.

Tolson, D. (2008). Guest Editorial: Health literacy in later life. International Journal of Older People Nursing, 3(3), pp.159-160.


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