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Understanding Social Factors in Health Essays

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Understanding social factors in health has become a central issue recently and a large number of studies has been dedicated in this regard. Social factors are phenomena seen in the interaction between individuals and social groups. In this essay, the importance of understanding such factors and their influence on health are addressed by studying socioeconomic status. Studies results are incorporated to explain health inequalities that arise from socioeconomic status and possible explanations including the material and structural, social selection, cultural and historical explanations cited in the literature are briefly discussed.
To begin with, society and social factors have increasingly been investigated as they have been thought of as crucial components to understand health. This tendency was derived by the inefficiency of the traditional model of health, the biomedical model, in many situations to manage some diseases such as communicable diseases (Browne, Health and Illness, 2005). Disease was predominantly attributed to proximal biological factors identified by doctors according to the classical model accepted in the nineteenth century. Therefore, this model seems to be inadequate to explain the differences in health outcomes between social strata. Despite the fact that health currently could be defined differently depending upon factors such as sex and age, it is generally believed now that it combines physical, mental and social well being of individuals (Blaxter, 2001).
On contrary to the biomedical model, the biopsychosocial model of health suggests that disease stems from many factors that, individually or collectively, could lead to disease occurrence and of which, social factors that play an influential role. To i...


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...al explanations since social groups affected are more likely to further experience a scarcity in material and structural resources. A clear example of this is the colonization of New Zealand in which Maori people suffered form material deprivation due to land loss as well as health problem in the nineteenth century. Hence, It is worth mentioning that the relationship between these factors is bi-directional and they are interlinked with each other in any society in which health inequalities exist.
In conclusion, it is clear that social factors are strongly influential on health and the increasing amount of studies addressing this issue is an indicator of their roles in understanding health. Socioeconomic status has been widely used to investigate the health inequalities and the possible, explanations, justifications and mechanisms by which they impact on health.



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