This assignment will be looking at the patterns of health and illness amongst the social groups of gender, age, ethnicity, location and social class, in order to identify if there are links between social groups and a population’s state of health/ill health.
Women are more likely to develop a cognitive health disorder compared to men. According to The Guardian (2013), ‘women are approximately 75% more likely than men to report recently having suffered from depression, and around 60% more likely to report an anxiety disorder.’ Arguably, this may be because women perform a ‘triple shift’- going to work in the day and coming home to perform domestic work & emotional work; listening to their partner talk about their day & offering them emotional support. This in turn can lead them to becoming depressed, as they have to take on the problems of their partners, as well as their own problems, and feeling like there is no-one else to talk to. Additionally, these figures may be this high, due to women being more likely to go to the doctor when there is something wrong with their health, whereas men will put off going to the doctors. The graph below, taken from The Daily Mail, shows ‘The Percentage of Population Using Mental Health Medication’ in America, which supports the argument that women are more likely to develop a mental health disorder compared to men.
Those who are in a higher social status or social class, tend to live longer than those who are in the working class, or lower class. According to Equality Human Rights (2014), chapter 6 states that ‘Men in the highest socio-economic class can expect to live around 7 years longer than men in the lower groups. For women, the gap is the same.’ An argument for this set of statistics may be that those in a high social class can afford private healthcare, therefore having access to top medical treatment, whereas those who are in the lower social groups rely on the NHS, whose hospitals are facing staff shortages, higher mortality rates and longer waiting lists. Another explanation/argument for this could be that those in the lower social classes can’t afford fresh fruit/vegetables and aren’t educated on how to live a healthier lifestyle, therefore becoming susceptible to things such as cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure/high cholesterol etc. These findings are supported by a graph produced by the Office for National Statistics, shown below.
Furthermore, life span and disease differ between different ethnic groups. Equality Human Rights Chapter 6 (2014) states that ‘Black people are more likely to be homicide victims than are members of other ethnic groups. A disproportionate number of people who die following contact with the police are also Black. Infant mortality is higher than average among Black Caribbean and Pakistani groups, although, by contrast, it is lower than average among Bangladeshi groups.’ One argument for this, put forward by Genetics Home Reference (2015), states that ‘Some genetic disorders are more likely to occur among people who trace their ancestry to a particular geographic area. People in an ethnic group often share certain versions of their genes, which have been passed down from common ancestors. If one of these shared genes contains a disease-causing mutation, a particular genetic disorder may be more frequently seen in the group.’ Therefore, it is genetic factors that determine which ethnic groups are more susceptible to diseases or earlier mortality, compared to others.
This graph, taken from UK National Statistics (2010), supports the idea that some ethnic groups are more likely to be exposed to illness and disease than others, as it shows that around 15% of those of Pakistani heritage reported ill health, whereas only 6% of the Chinese population within the UK reported being ‘ill’. As a nation, the elderly in the UK are living longer, due to advances in...
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