Nursing Sociology : How Class Affects Health

1811 words 8 pages
Title: How Socio Economic Class Affects Health.
Module : SHN 123
Word Count: 2118
Student Number : 558601

Inequalities in health between social groups have long been a dominant feature of British Society. Evidence suggests that people in the lower social scale suffer from ill health more than the middle and upper classes. This essay aims to address the reasons for this trend by primarily looking at evidence found in the Black Report, Acheson Report and the Marmot Review and by evaluating the explanations given to support the evidence.
The concept of social class is wide ranging – people can move between classes or have character/ occupational traits that cross more than one class. (Giddens, 2001: p282) described Social Class as ‘A
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To summarise, people not only die sooner in the lower classes, they also spend their shorter life with a disability.
The Marmot Review explained the disparity as ‘Differences in health do not arise by chance, and they cannot be attributed simply to genetic makeup, ‘bad’ behaviour, or difficulties in access to medical care, important as these factors may be. Social and economic differences in health status reflect, and are caused by, social and economic inequalities in society. The Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH), set up by the World Health Organisation, concluded that social inequalities in health arise because of inequalities in the conditions of daily life – the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age – and the fundamental drivers that give rise to them: inequities in power, money and resources.

There are four main explanations as to why socio economic status affects health so greatly. One reason is Measuring Artefact (Townsend and Davidson, 1982: 154) both class and health are artefacts of the measuring process, and any observed relationship must also be an artefact. Variations in diagnosis, certification, classification and coding processes have been identified as contributing


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