Sociology of health and illness deals with the interaction between the society and health. Sociological aspects, that are associated with health and illness, represent the gender equalities, health equalities, proper discrimination health and social care framework as well as high level of health and social wellbeing. Current essay is going to highlight the evaluation of the social model of health and illness that contributes to the understanding of the different disease. Furthermore, this essay also sheds light on the sociological explanation of different types of theoretical approaches as well as concepts that represent the aspects of the sociological perception of illness and health. By establishing two intimately related areas including social epidemiology and health inequalities, this essay is going to emphasize on the clear concept of the different sociological point of view of different disease and its effect on the health of individuals.
In this context, for critically analysing all the related theories and models that are associated with the social and health care, different key theoretical approaches can be established. As stated by Bowling (2014), health can be referred as the effective evaluative notion which is associated with the psychological, emotional, physical and social normality, depending on the different normality factors such as age, culture gender, social perceptions and medical point of view. In this context, the definition of illness can be described as the deviation from the normal mental, physical and social condition that entitles a person to the specific range of treatment to make his or her possible health improvement. As per Rogers and Pilgrim (2014), the disease can be defined as the infectious condition of the body that affect the physical as well as mental health of the patient thereby damaging the immunity powers infection-resistance capacity of the body. In this context, NHS has established Care Quality Commission (CQC), which is associated with maintaining proper supervision on the work as well as the activity of the service providers to make sure that the entire patient will have the high-quality care service (nhs.uk, 2017). Social models described the different mental as well as physical health of people in response to their external environment and interaction of their health with the sociological factors such as culture age gender, health facilities, and social perception regarding the particular types of disease. As per Matulovic (2015), in the theoretical approach presented by Yuill, Crimson and Duncan, there are six different features that are associated with the sociological health model. In representing the first features of the sociological model of health it can be started that; health of the individual can be inhibited as well as enabled by the different social aspects. As stated by Randall et al. (2016), it is true that there are human interferes as well as people choices that are important in maintaining proper health and welfare. However, various social contexts such as gender, culture, ethnicity, and social perception affect the mental as well as physical health of the individual. In this context, Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), that is a government body, set under the guidelines of NHS by the UK government, focus on the commissioning proper health care service in the local areas to promote equal health opportunities for all the deprived people (england.nhs.uk, 2017). On the contrary Noppert et al. (2016) argued that health is not the fact that is always affected by the social factors; rather in many times it is affected by the person’s own understanding, mental strength and perception. The second feature that is represented by Yuill, Crinson and Duncan, is that the human body is actually associated with three main factors including sociological, biological and psychological aspects. On supporting the view of Abbott and Williams (2015), heath is monitored by the biological and psychological functions which are affected by the sociological aspects. The third one is that, health is affected by the cultural aspects of the society that not only affected by the perception of the individuals, but also affected by the mental strength as well as a physical power of the human body.
On the contrary Witt et al. (2017) argued that, although cultural factors affect the perception as well as the mental strength of the person, it does not affect the biological system of the body that is associated with the health factors. Another feature is that, health is affected by the biomedical as well as medical science. On the contrary of the statement, Braveman and Gottlieb (2014) argued that, although medical aspects affect the biological system as well as entire health status of the person, it is not the sole facts that affect health; rather there are sociological and emotional aspects that also affect the human health. For example, NHS service for healing adult Hearing loss in England makes it mandatory for the service providers to not only focus on the health assessment of the patient but also provide proper emotional and mental support to each patient. Walk-in Centre Service set by NHS, is the important body to consult the disease and health issues, faced by different service users, thereby making them possible to advice to lead their life in a better way to deal with any life challenge (england.nhs.uk, 2017). The fifth feature of the heath is that political decisions, as well as processes, affect the health. The last feature of the health represented by Yuill, Crinson and Duncan is that voice matters also have high impacts on the health and disease occurrence.
In this context, Medical Model focuses on the rationalism, positivism and scientific method of the sociological perception which deals with the religious, beliefs, thoughts and social superstitions. As per the Medical Model fragmented body can describe as the body parts are divided into different isolated parts. As per the de Andrade et al. (2015), Medical Model has established the fact that standardised body can be referred as the generic body to which the clinical database gained from the patient body is compared, which makes the health professionals able to understand what types of physical abnormalities the patient have. Sustainability and transformation plans (STPs), is one of the important initiatives taken by NHS, which makes the service users able to get proper treatment as well as mental support (NHS.uk, 2017). According to Butler-Jones and Wong (2016), STP makes the possible transformation of health and mental state of deprived as well as unhealthy people by serving them with proper care and support.
As per this model, the Terms ‘Transparent Body’ can be described as the fact that, proper medical technology allows the health professionals to gain access into the inner organs as well as parts of the patient’s body. On the contrary Kiely et al. (2017) argued that transparent body may not be a good example of the sociological models of healthy and illness, as it does not establish any kind of social interference to the healthcare.
In this context, Bio-Medical Model deals with the fact that heath can be explained in terms of representing the effect of biographical, cultural and social effect on the patient health. As per Cockerham et al. (2017), this model represents the disease as the deviation of the normality of physical condition of the person. As per the concepts of this model, it can be stated that, disease can be expressed through the different types of signs and symptoms that occur due to the outcomes of the infections and health-related issues. As per the theoretical approach represented by Thomas McKeown, improved nutrition, as well as the economic growth, is important for improving the health status of the individuals. As per the concept presented by Thomas McKeown, the analysis of the mortality trends in Wales and England; it can be shown that mortality rate has declined from 17005 to 19505 due to use of appropriate as well as effective medicine and elevation of the economic status of the community. On the contrary Semenza et al. (2016) argued that Sociological factors are also associated with the changing health condition of the people which is not described in the theoretical approaches of the heath by Thomas McKeown.
Initiatives taken by NHS in their strategy of developing proper leadership skill among the service providers make the services able to get proper medicines in proper time and best treatment procedure (england.nhs.uk, 2017). For example, NHS Healthcare Scientist Training Program (STP) is developed to enhance the efficacy of all the health professionals associated with the health and social care service. In this aspect ‘McKeown thesis’ has shed light on the determinants that affect the pattern of morbidity as well as mortality. This thesis also highlights the medical interventions and strategies taken by the public health professionals to cure the disease by discarding the changes of occurrence of all types of mismanagement as well as ill-treatment. Sustainability and transformation partnerships (STP) as well as integrated care systems (ICSs) are developed by NHS dealing with different healthcare services such as clinical bioinformatics, life science and biomechanical engineering (NHS.uk, 2017).
Another important sociological health approach described by the Dahlgren, Göran & Whitehead, Margaret on 1991, focuses on the fact that, there are several layers of the sociological effect on health (Burström et al. 2017). Genes of the individuals are important biological aspects for maintaining different health condition in different individuals. Surrounding the genes, there are several sociological influences that affect the biological as well as a physical system of the patient. According to Gottlieb et al. (2015), Social Model of Health by Dahlgren, Göran & Whitehead, Margaret, represented the first layer as personal behaviour and perception that affect the way individuals are dealing with their life challenges and different health condition. Next layer surrounding the first layer is the community and social network that influence the perception, behaviour, thoughts and mentality of individuals. Social impacts may be both negative as well as positive. An individual can get proper support from society members who can enhance self-confidence as well as implore their health condition, whereas the discriminations, abuse and harassments from the society can damage the physical as well as the psychological ability of the patient. On the contrary Pedrazzoli et al. (2017), this social model of health cannot focus on the relationship between the biological factors with the behavioural, social and economic factors. Controversies regarding the social model of the health can be established in terms of its failure to determine the different dominant biomedical perspectives.
In this context, sociology of health and illness can be differentiated into two main areas including epidemiology and health inequalities. As per the definition set by NHS, it can be stated that, epidemiology is the distribution as well as the determination of the disease frequency in case of the human population (england.nhs.uk, 2017). As stated by Pedrazzoli et al. (2017), in case of epidemiology, distribution of the disease deals with the pattern as well as the frequency of health events experienced by the population. The objective of the epidemiology deals with the fact that accurate causes of different disease which makes the health professional able to make possible treatment. According to Stewart et al. (2018), epidemiology plays a crucial role in recognising the actual cause of different diseases such as infections, particular behaviour, genetic disease and health exposure. The epidemiological framework makes the medical study able to create a proper hypothesis of the causation. In this context, Quinn and Kumar (2014) stated that Casual Interference or CI is referred as the process of establishing the cause as well as effect between the disease and suspected factors. CI is important factor that provides an accurate statistical database to medical staffs thereby making them, able to deal with the different signs and symptoms of the health disorders.
Epidemiology focuses on recognising the distal causes of the disease and its effects on the health condition. For example, epidemiology of lung cancer has shed light on the fact that 78% of the lung cancer in the world is occurred due to smoking and consumption of large number of nicotine (Caiola et al. 2017). Furthermore, the epidemiological study of lung cancer also suggested that poor as well, as irregular diet, hypertension, lack of exercise is the causative factor of the lung cancer. Another area that is related to the sociology of health and illness is health inequalities.
Health inequalities are referred as the differences, disparities and variations in gaining proper health facilities as well as achievements by different communities and groups based on their cast, culture, race and ethnicity. Income inequality is associated with the creating of the health inequality due to the poor ability of the community to get proper treatment, food and nutrition and hygienic habitat. According to Matulovic (2015), as per the recent scenario, it can be stated that Singapore faces the highest percentage of income inequality which is 9.7%. In this context, it can be stated that Japan has shown nearly 3.4% income inequalities which affect the health as well as lifestyles of the people. On the contrary Randall et al. (2016) argued that income inequalities is not the sole reason of health inequality, rather different sociological aspects such as life expectancy, literacy, homicide, obesity, trust, mental illness and social mobility are crucial causes of health inequalities. Regional as well as local health inequalities are important factors that affect the health as well as the mental ability of the patient. From the above discussion, it can be concluded that health and illness are intimately related to each other. When people have normal physical and psychological status, they are referred as healthy. However, illness is the deviation of the health status from the normal, due to the expression of different types of health issues and signs. The essay further concludes from analysis of different sociological theories that, health is associated with the sociological aspects such as race, gender sex, ethnicity and social, perception. In addition to that, the essay also stated that diseased condition is also associated with the dysfunction of the biological system. Finally, it concludes that income inequality is an important aspect that affects the ability of people to get better health care service and health related knowledge that leads to severe illness.