The individual also has responsibilities that are involved in the sick role; taking all reasonable steps to get better and seeking to resume their normal place in society as soon as possible and to cooperate with medical professionals, particularly doctors and their staff.
Functionalists view that illness has social consequences; the ill cannot work and need to be cared for. They believe that where ever possible illness must be quickly dealt with in order for society to function effectively. In the instance of Aziz and Tamsela, the functionalists view contradicts their situation as they are in ill health and are not working; therefore they are stopping the effective function of society.
In order to comply with the functionalists view they would need to seek help themselves and ensure their return to health in order to be able to start working and contributing to society as in their current situation they are draining society.
Another approach to health and ill health would be the Marxists approach. Marxists believe that the definitions of health and illness and the health and social care system provided are in place to serve the interests of the more powerful dominant classes. Their job is to ensure that the employer has a healthy workforce. However the government still allow these companies to make money from the products that effectively cause ill health such as tobacco and junk food.
Factories and firms also continue to produce toxic waste and large amounts of pollution which can also cause ill health. Marxists regard levels of ill health to be linked to the differences in social class, for example there is a higher level of illness and lower life expectancy in areas of poverty, high unemployment and environmental pollution.
Marxists believe that the government do not consider enough the reasons for ill health; they believe that rather than treating patients each time they become ill that the government should look into the reasons they are continually becoming ill.
With people needing to be treated by the NHS constantly this costs the government lots of money which the Marxist believe is funded by the most advantaged in society. The case study of Aziz and Tamsela supports this, as they live in a deprived area of London, in a damp house, they live in poverty and all have ill health, therefore supporting the Marxists view. Their care and ill health is costing society, however if they lived in a better area in a better house they may not become ill as often and may be able to recover and work.
In this case the action would be to make sure they are fit and well unable to return to work and benefit their employer however a bigger solution would involve seeking a long term problem to their illnesses. Another approach to be considered is the interactionalist or social action approach. Interactionism is more concerned with the issues of health and illness.
The sociology of health encompasses social epidemiology, disease, mental health, disability, and medicalization. The principle insight of sociology is that health and illness cannot be simply regarded as biological or medical phenomena. They are perceived, organized, and acted on in a political, economic, cultural, and institutional context.
Moreover, the way that we relate to them is in constant evolution. As we learn to control existing diseases, new diseases develop. As our society evolves to be more global, the way that diseases spread evolves with it.
How does the WHO definition relate to contemporary issues of health? Can you think of anything that was historically considered a disease, but is now considered within a range of normality? Or anything that has recently become known as a disease, whereas before it was considered evidence of laziness or other character flaws? Do you believe all children should receive vaccinations?
These are questions examined in the sociology of health. Sociologists may also understand these issues more fully by considering them through one of the main theoretical perspectives of the discipline. The functionalist perspective is a macroanalytical perspective that looks at the big picture, focusing on the way that all aspects of society are integral to the continued health and viability of the whole.
For those working within the functionalist perspective, the focus is on how healthy individuals have the most to contribute to the stability of society. Someone applying the interactionist perspective to health might focus on how people understand their health, how their relationship to their bodies is mediated by social concepts of health and illness, and how their health affects their relationships with the people in their lives. Medical sociologists study the physical, mental, and social components of health and illness.
Major topics for medical sociologists include the doctor-patient relationship, the structure and socioeconomics of health care, and how culture impacts attitudes toward disease and wellness.
The social construction of health is a major research topic within medical sociology. At first glance, the concept of a social construction of health does not seem to make sense. After all, if disease is a measurable, physiological problem, then there can be no question of socially constructing disease, right? Sociologists Conrad and Barker offer a comprehensive framework for understanding the major findings of the last 50 years of development in this concept.
Their summary categorizes the findings in the field under three subheadings: the cultural meaning of illness, the social construction of the illness experience, and the social construction of medical knowledge.
The Cultural Meaning of Illness Many medical sociologists contend that illnesses have both a biological and an experiential component, and that these components exist independently of each other. Our culture, not our biology, dictates which illnesses are stigmatized and which are not, which are considered disabilities and which are not, and which are deemed contestable meaning some medical professionals may find the existence of this ailment questionable as opposed to definitive illnesses that are unquestionably recognized in the medical profession Conrad and Barker For instance, sociologist Erving Goffman described how social stigmas hinder individuals from fully integrating into society.
The stigmatization of illness often has the greatest effect on the patient and the kind of care he or she receives. Many contend that our society and even our health care institutions discriminate against certain diseases—like mental disorders, AIDS, venereal diseases, and skin disorders Sartorius Facilities for these diseases may be sub-par; they may be segregated from other health care areas or relegated to a poorer environment.
The stigma may keep people from seeking help for their illness, making it worse than it needs to be. Contested illnesses are those that are questioned or questionable by some medical professionals. This dynamic can affect how a patient seeks treatment and what kind of treatment he or she receives. The Social Construction of the Illness Experience The idea of the social construction of the illness experience is based on the concept of reality as a social construction.
In other words, there is no objective reality independent of our own perceptions of it. The social construction of the illness experience deals with such issues as the way some patients control the manner in which they reveal their disease and the lifestyle adaptations patients develop to cope with their illnesses. In terms of constructing the illness experience, culture and individual personality both play a significant role. For some people, a long-term illness can have the effect of making their world smaller, more defined by the illness than anything else.
For others, illness can be a chance for discovery, for re-imaging a new self Conrad and Barker Culture plays a huge role in how an individual experiences illness. Widespread diseases like AIDS or breast cancer have specific cultural markers that have changed over the years and that govern how individuals—and society—view them.
Today, many institutions of wellness acknowledge the degree to which individual perceptions shape the nature of health and illness. Regarding physical activity, for instance, the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that individuals use a standard level of exertion to assess their physical activity.
Similarly, many medical professionals use a comparable scale for perceived pain to help determine pain management strategies. Figure What might a symbolic interactionist observe about this method? Pink ribbons are a ubiquitous reminder of breast cancer.
But do pink ribbon chocolates do anything to eradicate the disease? Football and baseball players wear pink accessories. Skyscrapers and large public buildings are lit with pink lights at night. You read that correctly. The goal of all these pink products is to raise awareness and money for breast cancer. However, the relentless creep of pink has many people wondering if the pink marketing juggernaut has gone too far.
Pink has been associated with breast cancer since , when the Susan G. Komen Foundation handed out pink ribbons at its Race for the Cure event. Since then, the pink ribbon has appeared on countless products, and then by extension, the colour pink has come to represent support for a cure of the disease. No one can argue about the Susan G.
However, some people question if, or how much, all these products really help in the fight against breast cancer Begos The advocacy group Breast Cancer Action BCA position themselves as watchdogs of other agencies fighting breast cancer.
They accept no funding from entities, like those in the pharmaceutical industry, with potential profit connections to this health industry. For instance, what percentage of each purchase goes to breast cancer causes? BCA does not judge how much is enough, but it informs customers and then encourages them to consider whether they feel the amount is enough Think Before You Pink However, some critics saw the partnership as an unholy alliance.
Higher body fat and eating fatty foods has been linked to increased cancer risks, and detractors, including BCA, called the Komen Foundation out on this apparent contradiction of goals. What do you think? Are fundraising and awareness important enough to trump issues of health? Global Health Social epidemiology is the study of the causes and distribution of diseases.
Social epidemiology can reveal how social problems are connected to the health of different populations. These epidemiological studies show that the health problems of high-income nations differ greatly from those of low-income nations. Not responsible for normal duties. Not supposed to like the role.
Supposed to seek help to get out of the role. Society allows those who fulfill these criteria to assume the sick role, but society loses sympathy for and denies the role to those who appear to like it or those who do not seek treatment. In other cases, family and friends may show sympathy for a while, but lose patience with the victim and assume he or she is seeking attention or is a hypochondriac.
Although many believe that science alone determines illness, this sociological view points out that society determines sickness as well. In today's culture, addicts may take on the sick role as long as they seek help and make progress toward getting out of the sick role. In the past, society first dismissed or judged various ailments, only to later recognize the ailments as legitimate. People now recognize premenstrual syndrome PMS —once considered female hypochondria—as a legitimate, treatable hormonal condition.
Because of the disease's early association with a lifestyle many people considered immoral, society granted those who acquired the disease little to no sympathy and denied them the sick role. People punished these victims for violating the norms and values of the society, rather than recognizing them as legitimately ill. As society became more knowledgeable about the disease, and as the disease affected a broader portion of the population, attitudes toward AIDS and those afflicted changed as well.
Today some conditions still struggle for recognition as legitimate ailments. One controversial condition is chronic fatigue syndrome. These symptoms may last for years and often result in disability.
Sufferers experience difficulty in getting their condition recognized, not only by family and friends, but by insurance companies as well. Because of social hesitancy to accept chronic fatigue syndrome as legitimate, sufferers who are unable to work are often denied disability.
For a person to be considered legitimately sick, said Parsons, several expectations must be met. He referred to these expectations as the sick role Expectations of how people are supposed to think and act when they are ill.. First, sick people should not be perceived as having caused their own health problem. If we eat high-fat food, become obese, and have a heart attack, we evoke less sympathy than if we had practiced good nutrition and maintained a proper weight. If someone is driving drunk and smashes into a tree, there is much less sympathy than if the driver had been sober and skidded off the road in icy weather.
Second, sick people must want to get well. If they do not want to get well or, worse yet, are perceived as faking their illness or malingering after becoming healthier, they are no longer considered legitimately ill by the people who know them or, more generally, by society itself. If a sick person fails to do so, she or he again loses the right to perform the sick role. Talcott Parsons wrote that for a person to be perceived as legitimately ill, several expectations, called the sick role, must be met.
These expectations include the perception that the person did not cause her or his own health problem. Sometimes they are even told to stay in bed when they want to remain active. Physicians also have a role to perform, said Parsons. Parsons thus viewed the physician-patient relationship as hierarchical: the physician gives the orders or, more accurately, provides advice and instructions , and the patient follows them.
First, his idea of the sick role applies more to acute short-term illness than to chronic long-term illness. Although much of his discussion implies a person temporarily enters a sick role and leaves it soon after following adequate medical care, people with chronic illnesses can be locked into a sick role for a very long time or even permanently. Third, Parsons wrote approvingly of the hierarchy implicit in the physician-patient relationship.
Many experts say today that patients need to reduce this hierarchy by asking more questions of their physicians and by taking a more active role in maintaining their health. To the extent that physicians do not always provide the best medical care, the hierarchy that Parsons favored is at least partly to blame. The Conflict Approach The conflict approach emphasizes inequality in the quality of health and of health-care delivery Weitz, Weitz, R.
Patients who stop taking their medications are the ones most likely to become homeless or to pose a danger to themselves or others. Increased access to passive transportation has led to more driving and less walking. Although the view is not widely held, there are some researchers who argue that mental illness is a myth. They also consider the impact of illness on people self-image and their relationships if they are labelled as ill. Communities now face a number of issues due to deinstitutionalization because many localities object to group homes and halfway houses being located in their communities.
Health by Gender Women continue to live longer than men on average, but women have higher rates of disability and disease. Functionalists view that illness has social consequences; the ill cannot work and need to be cared for. People are typically bitten by mosquitoes at dusk and dawn. Now, they pop a pill, and all those pills add up to a very lucrative market for the pharmaceutical industry.